Milk Health Benefits: Pros and Cons of Dairy and Non-Dairy Milk

Healthy Milk- Non-dairy milk products

This article is part of a series on basic nutritional facts of milk and milk products.

Milk is said to be the most complete single food providing practically several necessary nutrients. This is justified by the fact that mammals including human beings have their young ones start out on milk (breast milk) and milk alone.

From our previous discussion on the different types of milk, each of them possess different peculiarities that are worthy of concern for #EatingRight. So while there are many benefits of milk in the interest of healthy-living, there are also some ‘not so healthy’ things about Milk.

Health Pros: Health Benefits of Milk

Without mincing words, diary (cow) milk is much tastier/sweeter than most non-diary types, which probably accounts for much of its popularity but it does come with its draw-backs and health concerns. Even though it has several nutrients and proteins, calcium is its foremost unique composition so lots of milk’s health benefits are attributable to this.

  1. Milk is a primary source of Calcium. Cow milk has the most abundant natural source of Calcium while all other forms of milk are fortified with calcium.
  2. Milk is an essential requirement for growing infants and children because of its richness in calcium to aid proper bone development
  3. Its high calcium content makes it useful for the prevention of Osteoporosis (fragile bones from a low bone density and it commonly occurs in post-menopausal women)
  4. It also comes in very handy to support wound healing especially for orthopedic injuries.

SOY MILK: Processed and commercially available Soy milk (or soya milk) come fortified with calcium up to comparable levels with cow milk, so in addition to the above benefits of cow milk:

  • Soy milk is particularly rich with Proteins
  • Soy milk has NO Cholesterol
  • It contains very little fat (2%)

COCONUT MILK: Is less allergenic and makes a suitable substitute because it is dairy-free and soy-free but it contains saturated fats and so should be taken with moderation.

 Health Cons: When Milk may not be so healthy

Here are some highlights on certain drawbacks to milk

  1. Milk is generally deficient in some nutrients such as Vitamin C, Iron and fibre.
  2. Milk is obviously contraindicated in some metabolic disorders such as lactose intolerance and Galactosaemia.
  3. Milk is a popular food allergen especially dairy (cow) milk and soy milk.
  4. The most popular forms of dairy (cow) milk is laden with cholesterol and fat
  5. Milk is easily contaminated because it is a rich substrate for the growth of various micro-organisms- it is advisable to be hygienic conscious to prevent food poisoning


We’ll conclude this series on milk & milk products next week by talking about YOGURT!


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