Many parents see milk as a healthy diet staple and a top source of Vitamin D. As much as it is a good source of many nutrients, it’s certainly not a perfect food.
According to new research, we need to give this a rethink, especially for children under the age of five. Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital has found iron deficiency could be linked to excessive milk intake.
Are your food choices competing with iron?
Make sure you’re not getting too much of any one specific food, even if it is a healthy choice.
Iron is essential for brain and motor skill development in children aged between two and five. The reasons to avoid iron deficiency are endless. Low levels of ferritin, a protein that stores iron in the body, have been found in children with ADHD. A lack of iron could lead to hair loss or even anaemia.
In addition to increased risk of cancer, Crohn’s disease and strep throat, each cup of milk ingested lowers iron stores in the body by 3.6%. Most surprisingly, a diet rich in milk doesn’t guarantee stronger bones. In fact, a 12-year prospective study, published in 1997 in the American Journal of Public Health showed women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day actually had a higher risk of bone fracture than women who drank less than one glass of milk per week.
You don’t have to drink milk to get vitamin D
If you need one more reason to avoid it, the vitamins A and D, one of milk’s top selling points, are usually added to the milk as supplements. You get more natural vitamin D from standing in the sun. Lastly, your body only absorbs about a quarter of the calcium in a glass of milk. So, you could drink milk every day and still end up deficient in calcium!
But you don’t have to cut milk from your family’s diet completely.
So, avoid iron deficiency by limiting milk intake to two cups per day. Iron supplements can also assist.
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