Milk helps you stay healthy over the winter months

  • by Anna Tomlinson

Milk helps you stay healthy over the winter months

It’s almost inevitable that we’ll get sick over the long winter months – in one way or another. Cold, dark days. Dingy, wet weather. A breeding ground for germs!

But did you know that drinking more milk over winter can help you stay healthy? It can boost your immune system and encourage your body to fight off common colds and cases of flu.

It’s recommended by the NHS for this very reason!

Supercharge your immune system

The NHS website gives five tips for staying healthy over winter. And one of them is to drink more milk.

That’s because we need our immune system to be in tip-top shape over winter to help us fight off those colds. And milk gives it the ingredients it needs to work harder and more efficiently.

It contains:

  1. Protein
  2. Calcium
  3. Vitamin A
  4. Vitamin B12

Protein feeds our body, giving us the building blocks we need to make the antibodies that fight off bad bacteria and viruses – the things that give us colds and make us ill.

Calcium keeps our bones strong so that we can remain fit and active, encouraging our immune system to do the same, and freeing up resources for it to focus on colds and infections.

Vitamin A directly supports the immune system, and it can also help keep the skin and lining of some body parts – like your nose – healthy. This is important if you’re going to be blowing your nose more often. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt are the best natural sources of Vitamin A.

Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells, which in turn keep the nervous system healthy and help the immune system’s antibodies travel around the blood to fight infections in different parts of the body. It also helps to release energy from food – and we need to keep our energy up if we’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Overcome tiredness

The B vitamins found in milk are also great for our brain. They keep it functioning correctly and boost productivity, something we might all need help with during the long winter months.

Better still, they help keep the sleep-wake cycle intact in our brains. That means it triggers sleep when we’re tired, making sure we get a good night’s rest. This rest is vital if we want to overcome tiredness and give our immune system time to recharge.

You’ll also find potassium and magnesium in milk that can help us sleep better too because they calm nerves and relax muscles.

Fighting bacteria – without getting congested

There are some claims that dairy can cause us to get more congested when we’re sick, creating more mucus. Scientific studies show that this is just a myth – they had exactly the same results with soy-based drinks too.

Instead, research shows we should drink more milk because it also gives us vitamin D. An analysis of 300 students in Japan found that those who took vitamin D supplements were 40% less likely to get a common flu virus, and they could fight it off easier if they did.

Studies at the University of Colorado School of Medicine also found that vitamin D helps the immune system to identify which cells are bad bacteria, and then to destroy them.

There you have it. Next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather and need to give your immune system a boost… reach for that pint of milk!

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