If you know anything about a little auto race in Indianapolis during the month of May, you probably know that the winner of the Indianapolis 500 drinks milk as part of the Victory Circle celebration. It’s a tradition that began in 1936 when winner Louis Meyer’s mother handed him a bottle of buttermilk, his favorite drink. But is milk still the drink of champions (and families) today?
Consider these facts from the Got Milk website:
- Chocolate milk is considered an ideal recovery drink after sports or exercise. The combination of carbohydrates and proteins replenish the body better than even sport drinks can.
- Drinking 3 glasses of milk each day can help significantly reduce the incidence of bone disease (such as osteoporosis) and fractures.
- When combined with routine brushing, the calcium in milk can help kids enjoy cavity-free teeth.
- A protein found in milk helps increase sleep and improve next-day alertness when milk is enjoyed in the evening.
- A diet rich in calcium (at least 1200mg of calcium a day) can help alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS.
Milk is important not just for the calcium it provides, but for other nutrients our bodies need. AskDr.Sears.com reports an 8-ounce glass of milk provides:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Carbohydrates – lactose, 11 grams
- Fat: Depending on what kind of milk (nonfat to whole milk), milk contains anywhere from negligible amounts of fat in non-fat milk to eight grams of fat per 8-ounce glass in whole milk.
- Calcium: 300 milligrams or 35 percent of the RDA for school children. Note that the percentage of calcium absorbed from dairy products is much higher than that absorbed from most vegetables. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, which boosts calcium absorption.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 8-ounces of milk supply half the RDA for children under three years, one-third of the vitamin B2 requirement for school-age children, and one-fourth the requirement for teens and adults.
- Vitamin B-12: 30 percent RDA for children
- Zinc: one eight-ounce glass, 10 percent RDA for children
- Vitamin D: 25 percent RDA for children and adults
- Vitamin A: 10 percent RDA for children and adults
Of course, several of the recipes submitted in the FitCity Make Your Own Smoothie challenge also contain healthy amounts of milk.
Still, there are people who prefer not to drink milk or who can’t because of allergies. If you fall into one of those categories, other good sources of dairy nutrition include rice milk, soy milk, broccoli, spinach, and calcium-fortified cereals and juices.
As for me, my preference for getting my daily requirement of milk is the good old-fashioned milk shake. Though prudence and the desire to wear pants that fit keep from a three-shake-a-day habit. What about your family — do you manage to get your three daily recommended servings of dairy, milk, cheese or yogurt or do you find other ways to take in the calcium and other nutrients milk provides?