A standard 8-oz. serving of milk provides good to excellent sources of nine essential nutrients, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods. This means it provides a high level of essential nutrients compared to its calories. In fact, each serving of milk provides 10% or more of the recommended daily intake for calcium, Vitamin D (if fortified), protein, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus.
Milk is well known as an excellent source of calcium. Regardless of its fat content, milk provides about 300 milligrams of calcium per serving (8 fluid ounces). The chart below provides information on the calcium content of fluid milk products per serving. A diet that includes three servings of milk (or other comparable dairy foods) each day provides enough calcium and other nutrients that may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and colon cancer.
It is difficult to obtain enough calcium without consuming milk (or other dairy foods). To help meet calcium requirements, the following number of servings of milk (or its equivalent) is recommended each day:
Children 4 – 8 : 3 servings Children 9 – 18 : 4 servings
Adults 19 – 50 : 3 servings Adults 50+ : 4 servings
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Phosphorus 20% Daily Value
Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generates energy in the body’s cells. Milk is an excellent source of phosphorus, providing 20% of the Daily Value.
Riboflavin 24% Daily Value
Milk is an excellent source of riboflavin, providing 24% of the Daily Value. Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, helps convert food into energy—a process crucial for exercising muscles.
Potassium 11% Daily Value
Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure. It’s also needed for muscle activity and contraction.
Skim deluxe or skim supreme milk looks like and has the mouthfeel of 2% reduced-fat milk as a result of the addition of a small amount of dietary fiber to the milk. This milk is an option to provide the look and mouthfeel of 2% low Fat or whole milk without the extra calories and fat.
Evaporated milk (6.5% fat) is made by removing about 60% of the water from whole milk. The milk is then homogenized, fortified with Vitamin D to a level of 25 IU per 1 ounce, canned and heat sterilized. The addition of Vitamin A is optional. If added, each fluid ounce must contain not less than 125 IU of Vitamin A.
Evaporated fat-free milk (0.5% fat or less) is a concentrated, fat-free (skim or nonfat) milk that has been fortified with Vitamins A and D, canned and sterilized.
Acidophilus / Bifidobacteria milk is a low Fat or nonfat milk to which acidophilus and bifidobacteria cultures have been added. There is some evidence that these cultures have unique health benefits, such as improving lactose digestion, lowering blood pressure and promoting a better balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chocolate milk (fat-free, 1% low fat, 2% reduced-fat, whole milk) is milk to which chocolate or cocoa and a sweetener have been added. This milk is just as nutritious as its unflavored counterpart. Compared to plain milk, chocolate milk contains about 60 more calories per serving (8 ounces).
Sweetened condensed milk (8% fat or less) is a canned milk concentrate of whole milk to which sugar has been added. The sweetener used (usually sucrose) prevents spoilage. Sweetened condensed fat-free milk contains no more than 0.5% milk fat.