Milk is one of the richest food sources of calcium, which is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. One 200ml glass of milk provides between over a third of recommended daily calcium intake for a child (aged between 1-10 years) and one third to that for an adult. As calcium is present only in very small amounts in most common foods, it may be difficult for individuals who restrict their intake of milk and dairy products to achieve their daily calcium needs. For more information on the importance of calcium in the diet, go to the Dairy Council website www.milk.co.uk.
Milk is also a good source of protein and naturally packed full of other essential vitamins and minerals, like B2, B5, B12, as well as iodine, phosphorus and potassium.
The two main types of milk proteins are the casein and the whey proteins. These make up to 80% and 20% of the protein content of cows’ milk respectively. Other proteins present at low levels in milk include antibodies and iron carrying proteins.
Beta-casein makes up about one third of the total protein content in milk. All cows make beta-casein but it is the type of beta-casein that matters. There are two types of beta-casein: A1 and A2. They differ by only one amino acid. Such small differences in the amino acid composition of proteins can result in the different protein forms having different properties.