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March 30, 2015

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Unlike all other mammals that cease drinking milk at weaning, humans are the only species that consumes milk for a lifetime. Milk in the human diet dates back as early as 7,000 BC. Worldwide, estimated daily milk consumption is 4 to 5 oz for adults and 5 to 7 oz for children. While North Americans visualize milk coming from dairy cows and to a lesser extent dairy goats; globally, camels, water buffalo, and other domesticated herbivores have been sources of milk for the human diet. Milk isn’t just part of a healthy diet for growing kids but is a go-to drink for athletes needing to re-hydrate and replenish electrolytes, proteins, and carbohydrates lost during intensive exercise.  While there is still plenty of research that needs to be done regarding the influence of milk on human health, milk has been associated with reduced blood pressure, and reduced risk for vascular disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer. Lactose intolerance develops with aging in some people; however, dairy products can still be a part of the diet for people managing LI by using natural cheese, yogurt, and lactose-free milk.

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