Health > Food And Diet > Milk
Whether it comes from the mother’s breast or from a bottle containing the modern manufactured mixture, milk is nature’s perfect food for babies.
Infant mammals have a great advantage over other species. They are protected against predators and from a hostile environment by developing inside the mother, and they are also provided by her with a food – milk - which satisfied all the offspring’s nutritional requirements in the first critical weeks or months of life. Milk is usually available in the right quantities, at the right temperature and contains, as well as nourishment, anti-bodies against many of the common infectious diseases. Human milk fulfils all these conditions.
Substitutes for human milk intended for babies can be completely satisfactory in content but they cannot reproduce the antibodies which are contained naturally in breast milk. However, a real bonus of bottle mixtures is that the father can share in the pleasure of feeding his baby and thus establish an early close bond with the child. Remember, however, that the choice between breast and bottle is always up to the mother.
Health Benefits of Milk
We all know that the calcium in milk helps build strong bones, but milk is loaded with eight other essential vitamins and minerals. Drinking milk also helps reduce the incidence of tooth decay. There is no evidence that drinking the required servings of dairy products such as milk contribute to a person being overweight.
Calcium: Helps build and maintain strong bones. It's also vital for nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
Protein: Important for a number of bodily functions — vital to brain development and the growth of body tissues.
Vitamin A: Maintains normal vision and skin. Helps regulate cell growth and integrity of the immune system.
Vitamin B-12: Essential for the growth and health of the nervous system. Linked to normal activity of folic acid and is involved in blood formation.
Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and influences bone mineralization, the strengthening of bones.
Potassium: Regulates the body's fluid balance and blood pressure. It also is needed for muscle activity and contractions.
Phosphorus: Helps generate energy in the body's cells and influences bone mineralization, the strengthening of bones.
Niacin: Keeps enzymes functioning normally and helps the body process sugars and fatty acids. It is also important for the development of the nervous system.
Riboflavin: Helps produce energy in the body's cells and plays a vital role in the development of the nervous system.