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NUTRITION CORNER: Nutritional contributions of milk and milk products

Milk is one of the most nutritious foods in the diet at any age. It forms an excellent base in planning individual or family meals.

The following are the major nutritional contributions of milk and milk products:

• Milk is a rich source of calcium and phosphorous that are easily absorbed into the body.

• Milk is one of the most valuable sources of high quality protein in the diet.

• Due to its high amino acids, lysine and tryptophan, milk can complement the protein value of bread and cereal.

• Milk contains all known vitamins in varying amount, except vitamin C, and niacin which are negligible. However, since the presence of milk in the intestinal tract favors niacin synthesis, drinking milk does add to the body’s supply of niacin.

• Milk is a good source of preformed vitamin A or retinol, one of the two forms of Vitamin A present in foods. This is the natural form of vitamin A found in animal sources like liver, egg yolk, milk, cram butter and cheese. In its precursor of  provitamin form, it is found in deep yellow and green plants as carotene. It is also not absorbed as readily as the performed vitamin A or retinol.

• Milk is very low in iron but the quality is excellent and is in a readily soluble form.

• Cheese is a good source of protein.

• The main carbohydrate (CHO) in milk is lactose or milk sugar which, with vitamin D, enhances calcium absorption. The milk CHO is hte source of CHO galactose which has a role in human brain growth and development. #

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