Milk is a wholesome, nutrient-rich drink produced naturally from a dairy cow who is milked 2-3 times each day.
In the United States, cow’s milk is carefully handled by food processors to ensure that milk gets safely from the dairy farm to your refrigerator shelf. This involves careful transportation from the farm to a processing/bottling plant, testing for safety up to 11 times, pasteurizing and bottling it for ease of serving in your home.
Regardless of which milk you choose, you can rest assured milk is a good choice. Milk is America’s #1 food source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D and one of the most highly regulated foods in the United States:
- Whole: Whole milk is 3.25% fat by weight and 15 calories by weight, 150 calories per cup. With calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth, it also provides protein your body needs to stay healthy.
- 2% or 1%: Also known as reduced-fat or low-fat milk. These have the same amount of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals as whole, just less fat and calories.
- Fat-Free: Also known as non-fat and skim. As it is named, no fat, but the same powerful nutrient package of calcium plus eight other essential nutrients helps nourish your body, not just your bones.
- Organic: In terms of quality and nutrition, there’s no difference between organic and regular milk. Strict government standards ensure that both regular and organic are wholesome, safe and nutritious. Organic dairy foods must meet the requirements of USDA’s National Organic Program.
- Lactose-Free: Lactose-free is regular milk – same 9 essential nutrients, just without the lactose. Lactose-free is a great choice for people with lactose intolerance and comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate.
- Chocolate: Nutritious doesn’t have to be boring. Chocolate milk strikes a perfect balance between good nutrition and good fun and delivers nutrients many kids fall short on. Pour one more.
In fact, cow’s milk is a good source of nine essential nutrients – calcium, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and protein. Nutrients that, in combination have been shown to help kids and teens grow healthy and strong and have been associated with:
- Improved bone health in adults
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Controlled blood pressure (as an important component of DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – a diet endorsed by the American Heart Association™ to lower blood pressure)