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Milk is considered an essential part of a child's diet. However, regular milk may contain additives that can cause health problems. So, why not switch to farm fresh milk? Find out all about it!
In most households in India, it is a tradition for children to start their day with a glass of milk. In fact, milk is almost synonymous with growing up; it is also an essential part of a child's diet, as it provides vital nutrients to the body.
Animal milk is often referred to as a complete food because it contains proteins, high levels of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorous. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children should consume milk and milk products daily as they provide vital nutrients for growth and development; more so, when babies are totally weaned off breast milk or formula.
But, in recent times, the source of milk, its quality and certain issues like adulteration have made people apprehensive. In fact, parents these days worry about the safety of conventional milk and look for alternatives for their little ones.
"Every other day, we come across news reports on adulterated milk and how cows are injected with antibiotics to improve their yield. For a parent, that's a nightmare. I was always worried about the safety of regular milk. So, when I found a store that sells packaged, certified organic cow's milk, I decided to switch keeping my family's health in mind," says Bengaluru-based mom, Malini.
A study on 'Detection of Adulteration in Milk Samples from Different Regions of Thuraiyur District in Tamil Nadu, India', published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2017, found that the tested milk was adulterated with neutralisers (usually added to pass off milk that is old or of poor quality, as fresh), sodium chloride and a few other adulterants.
Earlier, the National Survey on Milk Adulteration conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), revealed that almost 70 per cent of milk sold in urban areas contained water, urea, detergents, skimmed milk powder, etc.
Therefore, if one is able to source organic or farm fresh milk and is 100 per cent sure about the quality of the milk, it is always a better option, compared to regular milk.
There are several reasons to choose organic or farm fresh milk for your child:
Apart from the concern about quality of milk, you may offer your child organic milk because of a few nutritional benefits.
According to a study titled, 'Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition', done by researchers led by Charles M Benbrook of Washington State University, organic milk contains around 50 per cent more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.
The researchers did a review of around 196 papers from across the world on milk and they found differences between organic and conventional milk both in the composition of fatty acid and the presence of some essential minerals. These findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
A2 milk is gaining immense popularity across the world, and many Indian households are switching to it. But what is A2 milk and why is it better than regular milk? Fundamentally, cow's milk contains two major proteins, namely casein and whey. And one of the types of casein is known as beta-casein. A1 and A2 are two variants of this beta-casein.
Years back, cows produced only the A2 variant of milk, whereas today the milk we buy from supermarkets and stores are predominantly the A1 variant. However, certain Indian native breeds of cows produce A2 milk and are a safe source of healthy milk. Many farms are devoted to raising these breeds of cows to produce, package and market A2 milk.
A2 milk primarily contains high-fat content which means higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids as compared to other types of milk. Apparently, A2 milk is easily absorbable by the human body and the cerebrosides present in the milk, boosts immunity and improves overall health. Therefore, children can easily digest A2 milk, and stomach discomforts such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea that are usually associated with milk intake, can be avoided. Further, the components in the milk can help in burning cholesterol and fat from the body.
"Fat Cow milk, has its own free-range farm where cows graze openly in their natural, homely environment. Further, the cows on our farm are pure indigenous breeds such as the Rathi, Gir, Sahiwal and Kankrej. These cows are fed a well-balanced and nutritious diet, which contain a healthy mix of hay, bran, grass among other things. The grass we grow and feed our cows, is of the best kind and highly nutritious. We ensure that these grain and grass-fed cows are not injected with hormonal supplements or antibiotics. The milk is preservatives-free, making it as fresh as it can be. Packaged in eco-friendly and reusable glass bottles, our rich milk and ghee, get delivered fresh right at your doorstep." says Pragyan Damani, Co-founder, Fat Cow brand of milk and dairy products.
A preschooler should have about 400ml of milk per day (this includes any milk product as well). Anything more than this could hinder the absorption of other nutrients from various sources like grains, pulses, vegetables or fruits.
Milk is loaded with nutrients and should comprise a part of the daily diet of children. However, care should be taken to ensure the source and quality are not compromised. Switching over to farm fresh milk, may be beneficial not only for the health of your child but also for your entire family.
Also read: How Safe Is Your Child's Milk?
About the expert:
Written by Priya Kathpal on 17 September 2018.
Ms Kathpal is a nutritionist and founder of Nutrify.
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