Food - What is Milk?

There is strong evidence that proves that milk has played a very important role in the history of man. There are early records that frequently mention that milk and milk products were part of a man's everyday life from childbirth until old age. It was in the year 1922 that a temple near Babylon that was thought to be 5000 years old was discovered by a British-American expedition. In this particular temple can be seen painted walls with different milking scenes of the local people. On the mural, some men are depicted milking cows. The positioning of the milker is peculiar because they milk the cows from behind it instead of from the right, like the dairymen of modern times do. The milker is shown sitting on a milking stool. Another scene that is painted on the wall is men straining the milk into a certain container on the ground. There is also a third group of milkmen depicted collecting the strained milk into large stone jars and sealing them up. Another proof that attests to the role of milk in society is the book of Exodus in the Bible. It is described in Exodus 3:8 that Palestine is the Promised Land which was "flowing with milk and honey". In the Bible, milk stands for riches and abundance.

Every single human being has consumed milk at at least one point in life. We all know what it looks like. But what is milk? Milk is the white liquid that is especially produced by the female species of warm-blooded animals that they use to feed their young. Warm-blooded animals that produce milk are called mammals. Mammals have udders or mammary glands where blood that is pumped by the heart passes through. The mammary glands are specialized glands that have the ability to separate different substances from the blood and combined them into the substance we know as milk and then excrete them. To make 1 pound of milk, it takes 150 to 500 pounds of blood to pass through the udder.

Nowadays, the most common sources of milk used for human consumption are the cow and the goat. However, many people still get milk from other animals that are native to their land. In India and Central Asia, they drink the milk of the water buffalo and the zebu. They also milk camels, yaks and horses in Asia. The sheep provides milk for the people of Asia and Europe. Eskimos and the Laplanders use the reindeer and the caribou.

Milk contains several hundreds of chemical components. Even today, scientists are constantly finding something new in milk. Milk is best known for its good taste, high quality and high content of phosphorus, protein and most especially calcium. Since milk is a natural substance, it is easily broken down and digested making the calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients effortlessly available to be used by the body. Milk contains important vitamins needed for growth and normal functioning. It has large amounts of Vitamin B2 or riboflavin and some vitamin A. Some of the components of milk are only found in it and not anywhere else. These are the Milk Fat, Milk Sugar or Lactose and Casein, which is the major milk protein.

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About The Author, Michael Russell
Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Food