Milking It: Add Milk for a Well-Balanced Diet
These two simple words have embodied the pro-dairy movement that has been gaining momentum across the nation for decades. Even prolific celebrities, like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, David Beckham and Sofia Vergara have jumped on the milk bandwagon, posing for countless ad campaigns with the signature milk mustache. Nutritionists, doctors and researchers alike have long proclaimed the necessity of milk for a well-balanced diet, and are constantly coming out with new findings that reinforce their claims.
So what exactly is it about this frothy beverage that makes it so darn appealing? Well, for one thing, it harbors an abundance of that little nutrient called calcium, which helps keep bones strong and helps prevent osteoporosis. However, there are so many more hidden health benefits that are not commonly known — particularly from grass-fed cows’ milk. Here are a few hidden health perks as well as alternative ways to get your calcium fix for those who are lactose intolerant.
Cancer combatant: According to Rolling Hills Farm — a community supported agriculture in Tennessee — recent, groundbreaking research has found that the conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which naturally occurs in grassfed, organically raised cows’ milk has been proven to fight cancerous cells. CLA, which can also be synthetically produced, blocks tumor growth by creating a wall to block cancer from spreading. The CLA that was found in cow’s milk, however, had an added bonus — it blocked cancerous cells even more in lab rats than the man-made CLA did, by adding an extra layer of cancer-fighting fat. So a little fat doesn’t hurt after all!
Ab-tastic: Though dieters typically steer clear of any milk that’s entirely skim, research has shown that diets abundant with low fat, calcium-rich milk actually helps maintain a slim figure. According to a University of Tennessee study, calcium suppresses the “hunger” hormone in our brains, which prevents us from eating when we’re not hungry, and also breaks down more fat cells which helps achieve and maintain trim tummies and sexy six-packs!
Easy, breezy, beautiful: Women spend more than $7 billion on cosmetics and facial care products every year in order to achieve that glossy, model-esque skin tone that graces the covers of countless magazines and fashion campaigns around the world. Little do we know that milk is an inexpensive — and just as effective — method of attaining perfect skin. Milk nourishes dry, dead skin cells to smoothen out spotty complexions, because its potent lactic acid rejuvenates the skin and helps remove impurities. For this reason, there are many milk-based skin care products on the market, which are often blended with honey to make skin silky smooth. (P&B favors Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Body Lotion in Milk & Honey; $4.99 in drugstores)
Post-workout buddy: Milk is also incredibly good for replenishing nutrients that may be lost during a heavy workout. Check out Molly Kessler’s article on milk as an energy drink!
And for all those lactose-free readers out there — not to worry, there are plenty of viable and delicious alternatives for milk, if you’d prefer to steer clear of lactose pills. Soy is a commonly known substitute; it’s creamy, delicious, and is an excellent source of protein. However, too much soy is potentially harmful for a woman’s reproductive system, so be sure to limit your intake to no more than a glass or two a day. Almond milk is another great source of protein and a tasty alternative, not to mention fairly low in calories (40 cals per serving!). Last, but certainly not least, is coconut milk. Coconuts have been proven to lower the risk of heart disease and has significant levels of lauric acid which fights against certain viruses and diseases.
We’ll drink to that!