Image Credit: cfcoughlin.deviantart.com

Regular consumption of milk has been a topic of concern recently. The odd part of drinking milk does not come from the fact that humans continue to drink milk after being weaned, but from the idea that humans drink the milk of other animals—specifically cows and goats. With that in mind, people have raised questions about the nutritional value of drinking milk as adults, and whether those nutritional benefits outweigh the risks.

Milk is full of nutritional benefits, with protein and calcium being just two of the many that milk offers. There is significant protein content in milk that can help supplement the work of muscles after intense physical strain, and there is also calcium in milk that can strengthen bones and help muscles to work properly. These are the primary reasons that people choose to include dairy products in their daily diets, but there are also cons to consuming dairy.

First, it is important to note the processing the milk undergoes in order to be ready for consumption. Some argue that whole milk or even raw milk are the healthiest options because they have not been stripped of some positive nutritional contents that other, more processed milks have lost. Raw milk is fresher, tastes better, and still contains the good bacteria found in milk that helps to strengthen the immune system. Milk processing usually eradicates all bacteria—good and bad—from the milk, so both are lost by the time of consumption. This is where milk consumption runs into problems.

Drinking the more nutrient-rich forms of milk can also put the body at risk of bad bacteria that has not been removed by processing. E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes are two examples that can be harmful to the body if consumed. Milk is also full of fat and calories, which are not always beneficial to the body.

The safest way to consider milk is to consume it in moderation. Do not exceed the recommended daily value, but also do not eradicate it from the diet. Try raw milk if it appeals to you, or try other options. Soy milk is popular because of its many health benefits, such as helping to absorb calcium and lowering cholesterol. Almond milk is another option, because it is good for the bones, eyes, and heart. These are just two options out of many, but be sure to give dairy milk its fair chance. Milk does offer many nutritional benefits, just do not consume more than the recommended daily value.