These days many people actively experiment with their nutrition and try non-dairy diets. Yes, such eating choices are nice options for people with allergies, sensitivities and intolerances (12). Some dieters also select dairy-free nutrition plans to decrease their calorie intake and to lose excess weight.
Knowing this, it is vital to support your body from the inside. Dairy products have large amounts of nutrients that help your body systems function properly. In this article we will tell you about essential nutrients you can find in milk and those benefits. So, what are the 9 essential nutrients? What do the 9 essential nutrients in milk do for us? How does one get these elements, if they can’t consume milk? Read on to find the answers!
What Are The 9 Essential Nutrients In Milk?
Calcium is a well-known fact that calcium is one of the most important minerals for your body. It guarantees strong bones and teeth. It also plays a key role in blood clotting, helps to regulate normal nerve functions and heart rhythms. Recommended daily intake is 1000-1200 mg, depending on your age and sex (3).
Protein can be found in your skin, hair, muscles and other organs. It also helps your entire body to get oxygen and energy. Protein is also vital for your overall health and stronger immunity system.
Too little protein in your diet can lead to muscle loss, weak bones and other consequences. In turn, too much protein in your daily menu can lead to excess weight gain. An accurate daily amount of this nutrient varies depending on some factors. For instance, women should consume at least 46 grams of protein a day, while men aged 19 and older should consume at least 56 grams of protein a day. Individual needs vary based on weight and other factors. The best option will be to consult your dietician.
In addition to milk, such foods as fish, lean cuts of meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains are loaded with protein as well (2).
This is another vital mineral that helps your body avoid a number of diseases. Necessary amounts of potassium in your daily menu can lower blood pressure, prevent muscle mass loss and decrease the risks of stroke. It also significantly reduces the risks of overall mortality.
According to the WHO, your daily potassium requirement is 3,510 milligrams. Such foods as beans, beet greens, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, mushrooms, tomatoes and more can be great sources of this element.
This is another nutrient, essential for the health of your bones and teeth. It also helps your body to repair damaged tissues. Phosphorus also helps your kidneys and nervous system function properly. It also helps your muscles to contract and contributes to your heartbeat regulation. Lean cuts of meat, poultry, nuts and seeds, seafood are a rich source of phosphorus as well. Adults (aged 19 and older) need to consume 700 milligrams of phosphorus a day. The symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are bone and joint pain, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite and more (11).
There is a popular misconception, that vitamin A is just a “mono” vitamin. The truth is that it’s a group of compounds, that you can get both from plant and animal based products. This vitamin is essential for your eye health, immune system, reproduction and more. It is also a great antioxidant. The recommended amount of this vitamin is 900 mcg retinol activity equivalents (RAE) for men and 700 mcg RAE for women (9).
It is also known as riboflavin and helps turn the food you eat into fuel for your body. It supports the health of your blood, brain, skin and hair. The recommended amount per day is 1.3 mg for men and 1.2 mg for women (9).
This vitamin is essential for the health of your nervous system, blood cells, brain and skin. It helps to turn the food you consume into energy as well. Recommended daily intake is 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women (9).
This vitamin helps to support your nerve cells and may lower your risks of heart disease. It also contributes to formation of red blood cells. Recommended daily amount is 2.4 mcg both for men and women (9).
This vitamin promotes your bone and teeth health by helping your body absorb necessary levels of phosphorus and calcium. There are different recommendations concerning daily intake of vitamin D. According to MayoClinic, the optimal amount of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU (international units) a day (9, 10).
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How To Get Milk Nutrients If I Don’t Consume Dairy Products?
The diets that exclude certain food groups or certain foods, demand careful meal planning. You should help your body meet its nutritional needs. That is why it is vital to find other sources of all the listed above nutrients. For instance, below you can see a list of foods, that can be an alternative source of calcium.
- Dark green veggies (kale, bok choy, collard greens, beet greens, spinach and more)
- Nuts (peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts and more)
- Dried fruits (apricots, figs and more)
- Beans (especially edamame beans)
Such foods, as bread, fortified juice, cereal, sardines and canned salmon will provide you both with calcium and vitamin D.
If you don’t quit eating cheese, it may be better to select hard cheeses. This is the best option for people with lactose intolerance, as they don’t cause symptoms. For instance, Parmesan or Swiss cheese contain less lactose than soft cheeses (such as cottage cheese or Feta) and are rich sources of calcium.
You can also try lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk. It contains no lactose but still has calcium and vitamin D.
As for vitamin D, your body makes it from the sunlight. By spending about 15 minutes a day in the sunshine you can enrich your body with this nutrient. But make sure to apply sunscreen before your “sunbathing”, and don’t spend too much time in the sunlight, so as to keep your skin healthy. If you want to find vitamin D in food, tuna will be a perfect option.
To sum it up, if you don’t consume milk, figure out what foods contain the same nutrients and make your daily meal plan well-rounded (8).
Can I Find These 9 Essential Nutrients In Chocolate Milk?
Yes, you can find all the listed above nutrients in chocolate milk. But keep in mind, that this beverage has more calories than regular milk – one serving is 140 calories. You can include it to your menu, but remember to practice moderation (4).
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, as you can see, milk can provide you with quite an impressive number of nutrients. All of them support your overall health and are vital for your body. Nutrient deficiencies have a number of consequences, such as hair loss, bone pain, irregular heartbeat and more (1, 5). This is why it is better to make your diet balanced and add milk to your daily menu. Don’t forget about other healthy food groups. If you don’t want or cannot consume milk, you can still get all the most important nutrients from these foods. Just make sure you consume alternative sources of these elements. Take care of yourself and stay healthy.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency (n.d., rush.edu)
- Benefits of Protein (2020, webmd.com)
- Calcium (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- Chocolate Milk (2010, cns.ucdavis.edu)
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Everything you need to know about potassium (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Guideline: Potassium intake for adults and children (2012, who.int)
- Lactose Intolerant? Here’s How to Get the Nutrients You Need (2020, webmd.com)
- Listing of vitamins (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- Mayo Clinic Q and A: How much vitamin D do I need? (2017, newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org)
- What are the health benefits of phosphorus? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Is a Dairy-Free Diet? (2020, verywellfit.com)