Milk is a white liquid secreted by female mammals as the most complete food at any age. As regards composition milk contains proteins, milk sugar or lactose, fat, minerals (phosphorous, calcium, potassium), water and small quantities of vitamins.
It is important to process milk by PASTEURIZATION: a process that heats milk to
72°-75° C to kill bacteria and extend shelf life to about six months. At a Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk is sterilized and kept in special containers without any refrigeration.
HOMOGENIZATION makes milk more digestible, it breaks the droplets of fat into smaller elements, so that milk texture is uniform.
The last step is FORTIFICATION, a process which add vital nutrients to assure the presence of substances, lost during pasteurization and homogenization, such as Vitamin D, added to help the absorption of Calcium and Vitamin A, generally added to fat-free milk.
Milk is available as whole, skimmed or fat-free milk, low-fat milk.
Some advantages: milk builds healthy bones, reduces the risk of diabetes and of some cancers; it also lowers blood pressure.
Some disadvantages: milk may cause dairy intolerance, it can increase cholesterol level, unless people drink skim milk or low-fat milk; there could be the presence of hormones and antibiotics in modern dairy products.