Milk is a secretion from the mammary glands of a female mammal. Most of us grow up listening to our parents shouting at us to finish our morning cup of milk.
It is opaque in consistency and white in color. Milk from mammals other than humans is used as an agricultural product.
Maximum milk production of the world’s total production comes from India. Russia has recently become self-sufficient for its need of milk and China and Brazil are the largest exporters of this highly nutritious liquid. Milk is consumed by over six billion people globally in different forms.
Not only is milk used to further produce many dairy products but milk itself is available in various varieties.
The various types of Milk available to us are:
• Natural Milk
The milk received by milking various mammals other than humans is called natural milk. The milk which is fit for human consumption are:
- Cow Milk: Cow milk is extremely healthy for our overall healthy growth. It caters to almost all are human developmental needs in one way or the other.
- Camel Milk: Camel milk is salty in taste but is 3 times richer in vitamin C than a cow’s milk. Its nutrition value is much higher than a cow’s milk.
- Goat Milk: Goat milk is easier to digest and much similar in composition to a cow’s milk but with a higher calcium and protein content and low fat.
- Sheep Milk: Sheep milk is very similar to goat milk but with a higher fat content.
- Buffalo Milk: This milk is hard to digest due to its high-fat content. The fat content is almost double that of cow’ milk and so are the calories.
- Pig Milk: Pig milk though is edible but is rarely ever milked, though pig cheese is sold and is very expensive due to its rarity.
- Donkey and Horse Milk: The milk of the two is very similar and is closest in taste to human milk. It has high lactose and low-fat content.
- Yak Milk: It has a unique fragrance to it along with a sweet taste. Even the color of yak milk is pink which in itself is unique.
- Reindeer Milk: The reindeer milk is extremely high in its fat content. But, it is still famous for being a lactose-free.
- Giraffe Milk: Though this milk is rarely found it is a rich source of Vitamin A and B12. It has a pretty rich and smooth texture to it.
• Whole Milk or Full Cream Milk
Milk which has its fat percentage between 3.25 – 3.8%. This milk has a creamy rich texture. It is homogenized which helps in even distribution of fats. This milk has maximum fats and highest calories.
• 2% Milk or Reduced Fat Milk
As the name suggests this milk contains 2% fat of its whole weight. It is less in fat concentration than that of Whole or full cream milk.
• Toned Milk
Toned milk is the mixture of cow milk and/or buffalo milk with fresh skimmed milk to achieve a 3% fat and 8.5% non-solid fat percentage.
• Low Fat Milk
The low-fat milk has only about 1% fat of its whole weight which is less than 2% and surely less fat than whole milk.
• Double Toned
Double Toned milk is the mixture of cow milk and/or buffalo milk with fresh skimmed milk to achieve a 1.5% fat and 9% non-solid fat percentage.
• Standardised Milk
When milk received by any mammal (non-human) alone or mixed together is bought to achieve a 4.5% fat and 8.5% non-solid fat percentage.
• Modified Milk
When any content i.e. mineral, vitamin, iron or calcium are boosted in the milk for matching certain dietary requirements, then the milk is called modified milk.
• Cultured Milk
This milk is also called buttermilk. It has a sour flavor to it. It is formed by adding a certain culture for flavor and acidity.
• Fat-Free Milk
This milk contains no fat what so ever. It has just 80 calories in a glass of around 8 ounces. All the 9 nutrients and the high protein still remain intact in the milk and just the fat is removed.
• Lactose-Free Milk
This is just any general milk, the only difference being that the natural sugar in the milk called lactose is already broken. It makes the best option for those who are intolerant to lactose. The milk still has all its essential nutrients.
• Flavoured Milk
When different flavors are added to milk, we get flavored milk. Example: chocolate milk, Strawberry milk etc.
• Raw Milk
The milk which we get from the cow and is straight away received at home without any pasteurization.
• Mixed Milk
Mixed milk refers to a mixture of milk of any two mammals (non-human) with a 4.5% fat and 8.5% non-solid fat percentage.
• Long Life Milk
This milk is pasteurized at much higher temperatures than a regular one, the temperatures are as high as 135 degrees for a minute time frame. This increases the shelf life of milk even if it is not kept in refrigerators. This type of milk can have a shelf life of anywhere around 6-9 months.
• Condensed Milk
This milk is prepared by letting the water content evaporate and adding a little sugar to the milk solids.
• Concentrated Milk
The condensed milk without the addition of sugar is often called concentrated milk.
• Organic Milk
The organic milk production is dependent on the food being fed to the cow. These cows are made to graze on organic fields which have not been treated with any pesticides or agrochemicals.
• Recombined Milk
It refers to the homogenized product which is formed by mixing water with milk fat and milk solids.
• Powder Milk
When the water content is completely evaporated leaving behind 40% milk solids then we get powder milk.
• Evaporated Milk
When the water content is evaporated from milk to get around 28% milk solids. After this process, the milk is further sterilized to kill any bacteria if present and finally it is canned.
• Artificial Milk
This milk is not received directly from mammals but is a part of the nuts, seeds, grains or fruits and can be extracted from them. The various types of artificial milk are:
(a) Nut and Seed-Based Milk
- Almond Milk: This kind of milk has a nutty flavor to it. The overall effect is mild though. It is a rich source of calcium.
- Coconut Milk: This milk is easily available and has a little sour taste.
- Hemp: This milk is also nutty in flavor but has very light viscosity. This milk variety is best suited for preparation of mashed potatoes.
- Flax: The milk received from flax seed is bland in taste and is lactose-free on its own.
- Cashew: the cashew milk is thicker than all other nut milk and has the same taste as that of the cashew nut itself.
(b) Rice and Oat Milk
This milk is best for consumption of cereals and has a pleasant flavor to it. The oat milk is best suited for making pancakes.
(c) Soy Milk
This milk is made by mixing soybeans with water. It is a rich source of protein and is thick in its viscosity. It is sweeter than almond milk and leaves behind some strong taste in the mouth.
Who knew a simple drink that we all consume every day came in such a large variety.
Milk has several health benefits on your body, some of them are as follows:
• It boosts your immunity.
• Drinking milk provides you with calcium which in turn builds your bones and teeth.
• It is often used on the skin for cleansing it.
• Just like water even milk helps to prevent ourselves from dehydration.
• Milk also has a good content of Vitamin D.
• Milk also helps us maintain a soft, supple and glowing skin.
• The easiest way to get over acid reflux or heart burns is to consume a glass of milk.
Milk in itself is so delicious and beneficial that its types just seem like the icing on the cherry which helps you pick your favorite one for consumption each day.
Milk has been given so much importance in our lives that every year on June 1 world milk day is celebrated which is recognized by the united nations to highlight the importance of this delectable drink in our daily lives.