Milk : Nature Wellness Drink

Are you slurping down herb-infused, caffeine-pumped energy drinks because you’ve been sold on the notion they are good for you? For sure, some aren’t bad – and some may even be beneficial for health – but there are plenty that are mere sugar, flavoring, artificial ingredients, and high doses of caffeine that have even come under fire from health experts. Why not sip on a tall, cold nutritious glass of milk, instead?

Did you know that milk is considered “nature’s wellness drink”? The cold, creamy white beverage is full of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous and a balance of other nutrients that have been proven to build your bones and teeth as well as promote the healthy function of your muscles and blood vessels. And in the midst of all the new vitamin waters, energy drinks, and other artificially contrived beverages, milk is a natural, healthy choice.
According to well-known nutrition expert Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet and co-owner of San Diego-based Bazilian’s Health Clinic, unlike most other “wellness” drinks, milk is naturally nutrient-rich and balanced with a unique proportion of carbs and protein – in addition to the bone-boosting calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.

Watching your fat intake or following a heart-healthy diet? No problem. Bazilian, who has recently partnered up with model Christie Brinkley for the Drink Well. Live Well. gotmilk? campaign, recommends sipping on low-fat or fat-free milk. “Low-fat or fat-free varieties provide a lot of nutrients for very modest – worthwhile – calories,” she says. “Milk is also naturally low in sodium, and also contains potassium and plays a role in healthy blood pressure.”

Milk builds strong bones and teeth where, according to Bazilian, 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored. Plus, hundreds of studies have shown that calcium in milk helps improve bone density. “Denser bones mean less likelihood of stress fractures and a lower risk of osteoporosis – a major public health threat for over 40 million Americans,” adds the nutrition expert.

The importance of getting enough calcium starts young and extends into adulthood. “We are born with bones and as we grow from childhood to adulthood, we build stronger and bigger bones. However, after a certain point – around age 30 – our body starts drawing from our bones to maintain our other bodily functions,” says Bazilian. So it is important to get calcium such as that from milk starting early in age and then to continue consuming enough throughout your life.
Bazilian says the rest of the body’s calcium is found in the muscles, blood and intercellular fluid and is necessary for muscular and circulatory function. She explains, “Calcium plays an important role in our muscles (in the contraction phase in particular) as well as our blood stream, too. The human body works hard to keep a normal balance of calcium in the blood stream at all times to maintain ‘homeostasis.’ Calcium plays a role in blood vessel contraction and expansion. If calcium levels drop, the body will pull calcium from the bones to replenish the levels in the blood. But if you consume adequate calcium in the diet, you can maintain blood calcium and preserve your bones.”
Not only do milk drinkers tend to have stronger bones, Bazilian says “Milk drinkers tend to have healthier overall diets and tend to be leaner than non-milk drinkers.” And with today’s youth suffering an epidemic of obesity and obesity-related diseases, a wholesome beverage, like milk, can contribute to weight loss, strong bones and overall health.

Bazilian further explains, “Studies have shown that mothers who drink milk are more likely to have daughters who drink milk. Milk not only provides children with a wide array of nutrients but also displaces some of the less nutritious, high calorie beverages like sodas. By some estimates, about 12 percent of adolescents’ total calories come from sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages. Low-fat or fat-free milk can go a long way to change these numbers and add a nutritional, developmental advantage to growing bodies.”


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