It all begins with milk. Milk is the base product for many items we eat and use in cooking. It’s also the universal beverage although not everyone drinks milk from cows. Some cultures drink goat, horse, sheep, yak, camel or water buffalo milk. In the United States most milk consumed comes from cows but there are some people who enjoy goat milk. Today, we categorize milk by the amount of fat contained: whole (full-fat), 2% (reduced-fat) or skim (no-fat) but it hasn’t always been that way.
Mankind has been drinking animal milk since at least 5000 BC. Its possible cows were originally domesticated for meat but the milk was first consumed as a milk product in the Middle East. In the past if you wanted milk you either kept your own or purchased it from someone who owned the animals. Now it’s possible to purchase milk already pasteurized and ready to drink from the grocery store.
Dairy products are very beneficial for health. Milk products provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. The slogan says milk does a body good and that’s easily seen in how consuming enough milk can protect against developing osteoporosis, will develop and maintain healthy teeth, and some studies suggest drinking three servings of dairy a day can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Milk is also associated with reducing the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, particularly if drinking low-fat milk products.
Obviously you can enjoy a hot or cold milk beverage but there are many other ways of including milk and milk products in your diet. You can use it to make cream sauces, “cream of” soups, or use it in baking. Other products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, or cheddar cheese can be eaten alone or added to recipes. It’s no wonder milk is so popular.
One cup of milk, depending upon which variety you choose, could have about 160 calories 72 from fat. However that one cup provides 16 percent of the protein you need for the day as well as 6 percent of the vitamin A and 2 percent of the vitamin C needed. Milk also provides 30 percent of your daily calcium and 26 percent of the vitamin D you’d need each day.
If you enjoy ice cream on a hot day, eat cream of chicken soup to warm you up, snack on yogurt, or top desserts with whipped cream, you know that it all begins with milk. Whether you prefer whole milk, reduced-fat, or skim milk, consuming it in moderation each day helps you to stay healthy. Add some dairy to your day to make it delightful.