Milk is an important food from birth to old age. Discover the properties and how to consume milk and derivatives at every stage of life!
Milk is not only the food of our childhood, but a faithful friend, who accompanies us in all phases of our life. Its countless virtues help us keep our body healthy from childhood to old age.
The milk and products of the supply chain, essentially yoghurt and cheeses (consumed according to the correct portions), are sources of nutrients necessary for the formation of a solid skeletal system. An adequate daily intake of calcium and proteins can be obtained with three portions of milk per day, each of 125 grams, to be consumed especially in the adolescent period and until reaching maximum bone density, i.e. around 30 years. These quantities help ensure bone health and prevent osteoporosis in old age. But this is certainly not the only age group to enjoy the benefits of milk. Let's see them in detail.
Benefits of milk from birth to adulthood
Milk is an important food from birth. Up to 12 months of life, our growth is mainly entrusted to breast milk. From 12 months and up to 3 years, cow's milk can be gradually introduced into our diet.
From the age of 3 years and until the completion of our growth, i.e. about 25 years, milk assumes a decisive role, in particular for the intake of digestible proteins and calcium, which taken in adequate quantities becomes essential at this stage of life.
In adulthood, milk remains an important source of protein, vitamins and minerals necessary for proper nutrition. Furthermore, milk gives us satiety and helps us control our weight.
The importance of milk in old age
Milk is not only important in children or adolescents, but it also becomes important to meet the nutritional needs of people in old age. In the third age, its richness in calcium and high quality proteins is extremely useful to counteract the reduction of muscle mass and keep our bones healthy.
One of the aspects that make it such is the high quality protein content, equal to about 3.3 grams per 100 grams of milk. The intake of an adequate amount of protein, together with appropriate physical exercise, is essential in the elderly to counteract the progressive reduction of muscle mass and strength, which occurs physiologically starting from the third and fourth decade of life and which after 65, it can take on a pathological character.
Like all foods, milk and its derivatives must also be included in a varied and balanced diet, according to precise consumption methods.
What are the correct quantities of milk?
In the Guidelines for Healthy Eating published by CREA in 2018 we can find the quantities that we can consume for milk, yogurt and cheeses.
For milk and yogurt, adults should regularly consume at least 3 servings per day (where 1 serving equals 125 grams).
As for cheeses, consumption must not exceed 3 portions per week, where the portion is equal to 50 grams in the case of cheeses with a fat content of less than 25% and 100 grams in the case of cheeses with a fat content higher than 25%.
This healthy and balanced relationship that we have with the consumption of milk is a cultural heritage that belongs to us and that we have consolidated with traditions and food habits handed down over the centuries. The spread of alternative eating habits and models and a certain unmotivated aversion today risk penalizing dairy products, uselessly depriving us of their very great nutritional values.
It is appropriate to continue to transfer the good habit of regular consumption of these products to new generations, acting on food education from childhood.
The Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies implements the School Milk program, a real food education path for pupils attending primary schools. Thanks to funding from the European Union, children will be able to make a real journey to discover the qualities of milk and its derivatives. Among the activities, the program includes guided tastings of milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt. The goal is to help the little ones to know the qualities of these foods, to include them in the daily diet and above all to maintain this habit for life.