One of my doctor friends said there are some nutrients in milk that one cannot get from other sources. Milk is a white viscous colloidal liquid obtained from mammals.
It is widely used in daily life and supplies sufficient nutrition to the body.
It is the sole food material for infant children as it is easy to digest and requires no chewing by the baby.
Even adults can survive by just consuming milk alone, as it has all the required nutrients for the body.
But for this, one may require many liters of milk a day, which is again a heavy bulk load on the stomach, a bit expensive and also less tasty than other solid foods.
But still, it is used as a nutrient variant by many in everyday diet. Further other products of milk also have certain advantages.
Important Milk benefits
These benefits range from its use for babies and adults and also its by-products like curd, cheese, ghee, butter, buttermilk, etc.
Milk benefits for babies
Milk is the sole food for new born babies. Especially the mother’s milk is best for the baby.
It is easily digestible as infants have no teeth to chew solid foods at that age.
Further solid food may pass into the airways and can add to the trouble.
Milk also has antibodies derived from mothers, which act to protect the baby’s digestive tract from possible infections.
Further, it requires no heating or sterilization, unlike cattle milk.
It provides all the required essential nutrients, including water.
Thus the requirement for the baby to take water separately is not there.
Milk for adults
Milk is consumed as one of the nutrient sources besides other foodstuffs.
It is very much prescribed for bodybuilders, growing children, old age people and pregnant ladies as it is an immediate source of nutrients and also easily and completely digested & assimilated in the gut.
Ghee and butter from milk
Boiled milk leaves a layer of fat on its surface during cooling. This filmy cream is tasty and used to produce solid butter.
This butter, on heating, converts to the liquid form of ghee, a fatty material.
Though ghee is less consumed in Western countries, it is widely used for many food preparations. It adds taste to the foodstuffs when mixed.
Ghee is also used as an adjuvant in many traditional medicines. At the same time, butter is used in making ice creams.
Cheese: Cheese is a milk product used widely as foodstuff like curries.
It is considered quite healthy as it well a cooked and concentrated form of milk protein.
Composition of milk
As mentioned before, milk is a colloid of milk components in water. It has carbohydrates, fats, proteins, all the vitamins, and micro and macronutrients needed for the body.
But it is a food derived from cattle and is easily prone to microbes. So having yogurt (curd) often can pose an infection to some.
Also there, the chances of adulteration are easier in milk than in other substances.
So one should be careful with milk and milk products. If you feel that milk products are causing allergies or you feel a cough etc., discontinue use.
But care must be taken to avoid adulterated milk consumption.
Milk Adulteration and Tips to Detect
Milk adulteration is done to
1. Enhance milk quantity for monetary benefits.
2. To preserve the milk for a long time, like during transport.
3. Also, mask the lactometers used for quality check.
Overall the aim is to get more monetary benefits. But the health of the customer is at risk.
Milk adulteration is done by
a. A soap water solution. This has a high-fat value and helps dilute milk so as to be unnoticed.
b. Soda or urea: These are used for dilution due to the similarity in the color of solutions to milk.
c. Sugar solution. This helps prevent diluted milk from being detected by a lactometer. The lactometer measures lactose density levels. Sugar solution also has lactose. Even the density variation is low due to the sugar solution.
d. Just plain water. Helps to dilute milk.
e. Wheat flour, starch, etc.: They add fat and help mask dilution.
f. H2O2; This may be a preservative. But harmful to the body.
Tips for detecting milk adulteration:
- By feeling and a touch of milk or on any surface. Milk drop flows slowly due to viscosity. If it flows fast, it means it is diluted much.
- Soda can be detected if there is quick foam or gas on adding lemon juice. Further, there is a chance of feeling fullness in the stomach after consuming milk.
- Soap is tough to detect. This can be done by taste. The taste is largely different from normal milk. One may not feel he is drinking milk if the soap solution is added.
Health-related problems: Milk adulteration mostly affects the digestive system largely. t may induce vomiting, acidity, or gastric distress.
Tips to have safe milk
a. Try to find any farmer around your place of living if he supplies milk.
The condition is that he must be using rearing cattle for his own needs and willing to give away surplus to others to sustain the fodder cost.
b. Try to purchase milk from reputed companies though expensive.
c. Try to rear your own cattle for milk. This is the last option but the most reliable option.