Drink a pinta milk again it’s so good for the brain
MILK was once considered to be the ultimate health drink for generations of schoolchildren, who downed a daily bottle in the classroom.
But the benefits of drinking milk, along with consuming other dairy foods packed with essential vitamins and minerals, were offset over the years by concerns that their saturated-fat content raises the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Now, though, proof is emerging that the benefits of a dairy-rich diet may outweigh the dangers.
Australian scientists, after studying memory functions in young volunteers, have discovered that consuming dairy foods regularly may be good for the brain.
Their subjects had four servings a day of skimmed milk or low-fat cheese and yogurt for a year, and the researchers compared their performances with others who ate no more than one serving a day.
The results, in the latest edition of the journal Appetite, revealed that the working memory, which the brain employs to retain short-term information such as a phone number, improved after just a few months on the high-dairy diet.
The findings mirror those of American scientists, who discovered earlier this year that milk drinkers were five times less likely to fail a memory test than non-drinkers.
Catherine Collins, chief dietician atSt George’sHospitalinLondon, said:
“It’s not clear how milk bolsters the brain’s performance, but it probably has something to do with its rich content of nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
“Milk and dairy foods are cheap, and high in good-quality protein as well as calcium, phosphorous and magnesium.”
She added: “They are extremely important for bone health, and are absorbed more easily from milk and dairy goods than from sources such as vegetables, which is why they are gaining popularity again.”
Meanwhile, drinking skimmed milk daily is thought to be able to cut the risk of high blood pressure dramatically.
Researchers from Holland’s Wageningen University studied 2,245 men and women aged 55 or over who had no signs of high blood pressure, and monitored their dietary habits and health over a 10-year period.
In the first two years of the study alone, the risk of developing high blood pressure was reduced almost 30% in those consuming the most low-fat dairy goods, such as skimmed milk and low-fat yogurts.
About 270,000 people a year in theUKsuffer a heart attack, and high blood pressure, which affects one in five people, is a major risk factor.
High-fat products such as butter or cheese did not have a protective effect, although they did not increase the risks, either.
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