Hareem Deeba - It is truly said that a glass of milk is a complete food supplement. One of the greatest blessings of nature, milk is cost-efficient and nutritious, and provides calcium, proteins, vitamins and minerals which are essential components for our health and make our bones healthy and stronger. From early childhood, it is considered important to consume sufficient amount of milk throughout your life to avoid weakness and prevent diseases like osteoporosis from occurring at a later stage of life.

There is a general public opinion that drinking milk is only good for those who are young of age, but reality is totally opposite to this perception. Milk consumption is equally important for people of other age groups; as milk is a concoction of essential nutrients which plays an important role in fortifying developing bones, teeth and brain tissue. Milk also helps in absorbing both calcium and phosphorous for the stability of our bones and provides support to our digestive system.

For teenagers as well, milk ingestion is a must, due to the extraordinary physiological changes that adolescents undergo, it is important for them to have sufficient amount of milk to provide them energy and nutrition for preeminent development of hormonal, muscular, circulatory and reproductive systems. This requirement of milk consumption continues to develop with the growing age therefore, milk remains essential for adults as well, as deficiency of vitamins; proteins and calcium may lead to the degeneration of bones.

According to a research report published by the Harvard School of Public Health in 20101, consumption of full fat dairy milk has found to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. Other benefits of milk consumption include increased fertility, prevention of hypertension, cancer and other diseases. Regular milk consumption also promotes muscle growth and improves post exercise muscle recovery. Being a good source of calcium it also helps in the fortification of bones, reducing the risk of diseases like Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia.

 Even with all its rich nutrients and countless benefits there are still negative perceptions regarding milk consumption. A very common misperception is that regular dairy consumption leads to dental caries. Not only it is incorrect, but by regularly consuming dairy products such as milk and cheese, our bodies receive the necessary calcium required to protect teeth from cavities. In Pakistan, where loose milk is regularly supplied to a majority of households, there is a common perception that by boiling loose milk, one can eliminate all harmful bacteria from the dairy product. Not only does conventional boiling fail to kill all germs present in liquid milk, but according to a report by PCSIR, it also results in the reduction of important vitamins that harm its nutritional value significantly.

In Pakistan, our local milkmen lack the proper equipment to refrigerate liquid milk when it is being transported from their dairy farms to different urban centres. Allowing the temperature of milk to exceed 4 degrees centigrade permits the bacteria within to multiply at exponential rates, significantly hampering the hygiene and nutritional value of the dairy product. In comparison, Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) processed milk, is protected through aseptic packaging, making it safe, secure and full of nutrition. This is an important difference which needs to be understood, accepted and spread widely so that people could be informed regarding taking decisions for the consumption of safe dairy products for good health.

There’s a dire need of educating the people about the importance of milk intake to remain fit and healthy, such corporate intervention is a value addition and would definitely play a significant role in promoting secure and safe milk consumption. This will lead to a healthy and happy life and also would result in a noticeable decline in rate of nutritional insufficiency and the number of osteoporosis patients in Pakistan.