The composition of milk is influenced by various factors: the genetic and nutritional status of the animal, environmental conditions, stage of lactation… On average, milk is composed of 87% water, 4 to 5% lactose, 3% proteins, 3 to 4% lipids, 0.8% minerals and 0.1% vitamins.
Milk is the first food for humans, and it is seen as the only richest natural food in terms of the nutritional elements the body needs. Similarly, it provides many of the nutritional elements necessary for the growth and maintenance of the human body, in adequate amounts. The human body is in need of milk and its properties throughout their life as it is useful for all ages and groups. Milk represents a more nutrient dense beverage choice for individuals who partake in strength and endurance activities, compared to traditional sports drinks. Bovine low-fat fluid milk is a safe and effective post exercise beverage for most individuals, except for those who are lactose intolerant.
Athletes have good reason to focus on nutrition: replacing fluid and nutrients after an intense work out helps repair and replenish muscles and maintain strong bones. If nutrients are not replaced during and after exercise, athletes experience fatigue and may not be able to keep up the intensity of their workouts.
One beverage that is often overlooked as a recovery drink is milk. Milk’s nutrients-protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water-are rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body to produce energy during and replenish nutrient stores after activity. New research shows that milk consumed as a post-exercise recovery and rehydration beverage is just as effective, if not more so, than commercially-available sports drinks, and can increase muscle growth.
One of the key nutrients in milk is protein. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for healthy adults is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight, however for athletes it may be higher.