National Milk Day, not to be confused with World Milk Day, is celebrated on January 11 to commemorate the first delivery of milk to homes in America back in 1878. Before this time there were not sanitary methods to package and transport milk throughout cities and towns.
The Role of Milk in America
Milk has long played a role in our diets. Humans have likely been drinking cow’s milk for 6,000-8,000 years. Used in countless recipes, milk is a staple of the American diet. Dairy provides almost 50 percent of the calcium most Americans consume. Even if you aren’t enjoying a cold glass, you likely use it (or a milk alternative) in baked goods, sauces, or soups.
Health Benefits of Milk
Milk is packed with nutrients including potassium, vitamin D, and calcium. In fact, milk provides 18 of 22 essential nutrients. It helps build strong teeth and bones and is an incredible source of protein and magnesium. Milk has also been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Today, many people turn to milk alternatives whether it be for dietary reasons or personal tastes. Milk does offer a high nutritional value, but there are also many alternatives out there that provide comparable health benefits.
- Oat milk is great for baking and in your coffee. It contains fewer nutrients that dairy milk and is higher in carbohydrates.
- Almond milk is low in fat and is often calcium and vitamin E enriched. However, it is low in protein and lacks the healthy fats which aid in development.
- Soy milk is a great alternative as it is high in protein and low on calories. That said, some people do not care for the flavor.
Each type of milk has its pros and cons. What’s best for you will vary based on your nutritional needs and dietary preferences.