Recent years have seen a lot of controversy surrounding milk. We can all recall the years of our childhood when it was mandatory to consume one to two glasses of milk each day. Milk used to be seen as a necessity for a growing child, but today it has a lot of critics who say it should be eliminated from your diet. But the truth is that milk is still a very nutrient-dense food, particularly during a child's formative years. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of milk for young children, the recommended daily intake of milk, and lactose intolerance management.
While the importance of exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months and then top milk (for bone and tooth health) is crucial, beyond infancy, complementary feeding is emphasized. Also, the quantity and quality of milk are crucial.
- 400-500ml/day to start
- more will fill up infants stomach and discourage from taking other nutrients
- hinders weaning
- Increased sugar content of flavoured milk
- lactose intolerant kid/CMP1 may impact growth and well being of children
- Dairy alernativies- cheese, paneer, yougurt (probiotic) can be encouraged
- Fortifies milk not accessible to all children.
Types of Milk
There is now a wide range of beverages that go by the label "milk," even though most caregivers still associate the word with cow's milk. The many milk varieties have quite distinct nutritional profiles.
The various kinds of "milk" that children might consume include:
- Milk from cows, including whole, 2%, 1%, fat-free/skim, and flavoured varieties like chocolate milk.
- Dairy substitutes (such as rice, almond, soy, coconut, cashew, hemp, and oat)
- Goat milk
- Protein - Casein, an insoluble milk protein, makes up 80% of the protein in milk, while whey protein, a soluble protein, makes up 20%. Both varieties are abundant in crucial amino acids and simple to digest. Whey protein aids in the growth of muscle or the maintenance of lean muscle, whereas casein aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the food consumed.
- Calcium - Everyone is aware that calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth at any age. Later in life, it lowers the chance of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Children who don't consume cow's milk and don't supplement their diet with calcium from other sources are more likely to suffer from bone fractures in their early and adolescent years. The recommended daily calcium intake for young children is 800 milligrammes (mg), for adolescents, it is 1300 mg, for adults it is 1000 mg, and for persons over the age of 51, it is 1200 mg. If milk is not consumed every day, it is difficult to fulfill this goal.
- Phosphorus - Phosphorus, along with calcium and vitamin D, is necessary for healthy bones. It controls how fats and carbs are used and aid in the body's production of protein.
- Potassium - This controls the body's fluid balance, muscular contraction, and blood pressure. Lack of potassium can result in weariness, blood pressure swings, and cramping in the muscles. Additionally, it aids in avoiding kidney stones, stroke, and water retention.
- Magnesium - This contributes to the production of energy and the maintenance of a steady heartbeat. It controls how well the muscles, nerves, and blood sugar work. It is necessary for strong bones and a robust immune system.
- Vitamin A - This guards your eyes against age-related deterioration and night blindness, may lessen your risk of developing some malignancies, maintains a healthy immune system, lowers your risk of developing acne, supports bone health, and encourages normal growth and reproduction.
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D supports blood phosphorus levels by aiding the body's absorption of calcium from the diet. Additionally, it enhances general immunity and fights inflammation.
- Vitamin B12 - This aids in DNA synthesis, guards against anemia and maintains the health of the nervous and circulatory systems.
- Vitamin B2 - also known as riboflavin, is responsible for converting the carbohydrates found in meals into ATP, which gives the body the energy it needs to function.
- Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin - In doing so, the body's need for energy is produced by converting the carbohydrates in our food into ATP.
- Niacin, commonly known as vitamin B3, aids in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, just like riboflavin does. Additionally, it enhances circulation, nervous system function, cholesterol levels, and the metabolism of fats and proteins.
- Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, helps produce red blood cells and aids in the conversion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy.
How much milk is sufficient?
It's significant to remember that milk doesn't include iron despite having a rich nutritional profile. Toddlers who consume a lot of cow's milk may feel full and be less likely to eat foods high in iron, such as green leafy vegetables. In addition, milk lessens the absorption of iron and may even irritate the lining of the colon, which can ultimately lead to iron loss.
It's advised to limit your child's regular milk intake to 2-3 cups per day to avoid iron deficiency or anemia. Additionally, give your child plenty of foods high in vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption, as well as foods high in iron (fish, meat, beans, tofu, etc.).
Whole milk should be consumed by children between the ages of 1-2 years old since normal brain development and growth depend on dietary lipids. You can switch to low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk after age 2 or later, but try to speak with your doctor first.
It's also crucial to remember that regular Indian milk that hasn't been fortified with vitamin D is vitamin D-free, so make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D from other sources.
Lactose, the sugar present in milk and dairy products, is indigestible by many people. About 65% of people worldwide suffer from lactose intolerance.
However, it could not be an intolerance if your child is refusing cow's milk. It can also be the case that the baby is not habituated to the flavor because it differs from breast milk or formula milk. As a solution, you might try combining cow's milk with infant formula or breast milk. If your child agrees, you can gradually change the combination until it contains only cow's milk.
Don't make your child drink milk if it turns out that they are lactose intolerant. Most likely, it will cause more harm than good. Consider consuming calcium-fortified soy milk, fortified cereals, cooked dried beans, and green vegetables (such as kale, broccoli, and bok choy).
Despite some vociferous detractors, milk is still a nutrient powerhouse. When it comes to providing complete nutrition, milk is hard to beat. Make sure to include those 2 cups of milk in your child's daily diet unless they are lactose intolerant.