Milk, the nutrient-dense liquid white food is secreted by the mammary glands of the female mammals. It forms the first food for the newborn and main source of complete nutrition for the growing child. The milk of farm-raised animals is a vital source of food for humans, which are consumed as fresh or processed dairy products. Also Read: World Milk Day: 5 Incredible Benefits Of Milk - Infographic

Most of the milk consumed by Indians is from cow's milk, followed by buffalo's and minimal amounts of sheep, goat or camel in few parts of the country.

Milk is an emulsion of fat and protein in water loaded with carbohydrates, vital vitamins and minerals. However, the key nutrients present in the milk of all mammals vary depending on the species.

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Milk protein is valued as a complete protein source as it contains all the nine essential amino acids. Milk is abundant in minerals like calcium, phosphorus required for normal skeletal growth and development, but has a very minimal amount of iron. Apart from these, milk is also imbued with essential vitamins such as riboflavin, and B12. Milk available commercially is fortified with vitamins D and A.

Milk fat is the most complex form of fat which consists of more than 400 different types of fatty acids. Whole milk is high on fat with saturated fatty acid making up to 70%, polyunsaturated fatty acids are 2.3% of the total fat and the remaining 28% is monounsaturated fatty acids of the total fat. Also Read: Nutritional Importance Of Milk For Kids

Milk which is commercially sold is available in different varieties and types. One can choose from a wide range that fits an individual's age and health conditions.

Types of milk

Toned Milk

Toned milk is made by the mixture of cow’s or buffalo's milk or both which has been standardized and milk fat percentage is 3% and solid non-fat content is 8.5%. It undergoes pasteurization and Phosphate test should show negative when tested. The toned milk is a homogenous product and has no deposition of fat that takes place while standing.

The alkaline phosphate test is an indication that shows whether the milk has been properly pasteurized or contaminated with raw milk after pasteurization.

Double Toned Milk

Double toned milk is produced by the combination of cow’s or buffalo's milk or both together where milk fat percentage is standardized to 1.5% (milk fat) and sold non-fat value is 9.0%. It is pasteurized milk which shows negative when tested for phosphate test.

Standardized Milk

Standardized milk is manufactured using cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk or goat's milk or sheep’s milk or a blend of any of these milk that has been standardized where the milk fat content is 4.5% and a solid-non-fat percentage is 8.5%.

Full Cream Milk

Full cream milk is made by the mixture of cow’s and buffalo’s milk which has been standardized with a milk fat percentage 6% and solid non-fat content is 9%. It is also a pasteurized milk and shows a negative phosphate test. Furthermore, it is packed and sold in a clean, solid sanitary food container to avert any contamination.

Variants of milk

Skimmed Milk

Skimmed milk is essentially prepared from the milk from where all the fat content from the milk has been removed mechanically. The milk fat percentages are 0.5% and solid non-fat content is 8.7%.

Flavoured Milk

Flavoured milk contains nuts, chocolate or coffee or any other edible food flavour, colour and sugar added to enhance the taste and make it more delectable for kids to relish. It is also packed with all the essential nutrients vital for growth and development.

Organic Milk

Organic milk comes from the cows that have been never given any form of hormonal or antibiotic injections and also raised from the farms that follow the strict standards of organic dairy farming practices.

Lactose-Free Milk

Lactose-free milk is a cow's milk with one major difference, where the natural sugar lactose has been broken down to make the milk tolerable for people suffering from lactose intolerance. However, lactose-free milk comprises all the essential nutrients like vitamin D, calcium and protein as other types of milk.

5 Amazing Wellness Incentives Of Drinking Milk

Strengthens Bones

Milk being a super-rich source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D assists in fortifying bones and averts the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. Evidences have revealed that regular intake of milk can lower the risk of fractures as you age.

Improves Heart Health

The goodness of calcium in milk is well-known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Besides this, notable amounts of magnesium and potassium in milk acts as vasodilators that regulate the blood pressure, improves the blood flow and circulation to the vital organs and optimises heart health and cardiac muscles.

Dental Health                                                                          

Milk is a must-to-have complete food for children and adolescents, as drinking milk improves dental health and shields the enamel surface from acidic compounds. Furthermore, milk is also an ideal energy drink and also reduces the risk of dental cavities and bleeding gums.

Enhances Skin Health

The essence of healthy fatty acids, protein and other minerals and vitamins in milk nourishes the skin and improves the skin tone. Lactic acid present in milk assist in thwarting the dead skin cells and the potent antioxidants slow down the premature ageing of the skin.

Complete Food

Milk is highly valued as a complete food as it comprises vitamins and minerals for keeping you strong, healthy and fit. Drinking a glass of milk supplies you with Vitamins A and B for improving the vision, boosting iron levels, good carbs for stamina and energy, potassium to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions and proteins for growth and development.

 Conclusion

Milk is available in different varieties and you have the comfort to choose the right one suited for health conditions from the fat-free ones to full-fat milk, or if you have any issues with digesting lactose than you can go for lactose-free milk.