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Milk – Should I be drinking it?

Nutritionist Ilene, I’ve heard that milk is good for you and bad for you. What is the bottom line?

Milk supports growth as it contains protein, carbohydrates, phosphorus, potassium, some sodium, and is a rich source of calcium supplying about 30% of your daily calcium needs in every glass. However, milk also contains hormones and other biological additives, whether organic or not, may pose some health concerns.   Milk has been linked to an increase in allergies, acne and hormone related imbalances, and is often not tolerated by adults as many stop producing lactase, the enzyme necessary to digest this milk sugar.  Dairy intolerance is marked by gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea and can interfere with the absorption of many nutrients.

Aside from the nutrients that dairy foods contain, yogurt and fermented cheese are also rich sources of probiotics which promote a healthy gut and foster a strong immune system. Other sources of probiotics are miso, tempeh, and fermented foods such as kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut which can be more challenging to obtain in our diets.

Bottom-line? If you tolerate dairy, choose low fat, organic varieties, especially yogurt in moderation, and to avoid potential health concerns and obtain the benefits of plant compounds, choose more plant based milk alternatives such as flax, cashew, almond, rice, or soy milk.

Non- Dairy Sources of Calcium

 

Sources of Calcium

Calcium (mg)

Calories

Fortified ready-to-eat cereals (various), 1 ounces
236-1043
88-106
Sardines, Atlantic, in oil, drained, 3 ounces
325
177
Tofu, firm, prepared with nigari , ½ cup
253
88
Pink salmon, canned, with bone, 3 ounces
181
118
Collards, cooked from frozen, ½ cup
178
31
Molasses, blackstrap, 1 Tbsp.
172
47
Spinach, cooked from frozen, ½ cup
146
30
Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup
130
127
Turnip greens, cooked from frozen, ½ cup
124
24
Almond Milk (Silk original), 8 ounces
300, 30% of daily needs
60
Rice Milk (Rice Dream, enriched), 8 ounces
300, 30% of daily needs
120
Soy Milk (Silk), 8 ounces
300, 30% of daily needs
90
Flax Milk , 8 ounces
300, 30% of daily needs
25

Source: Nutrient values from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Food items and weights in the single nutrient reports are adapted from those in 2002 revision of USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 72, Nutritive Value of Foods.

Have a nutrition related question? Contact Ilene Yalen, MSRD at yalen5@msn.com

Ilene Yalen is the Registered Dietitian working with WellAmerica to help promote health and well being.

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