Which type of milk is best for me?

Milk is a rich source of essential nutrients that are required for our body, especially optimal heart functions. It is rich in high-quality protein and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.

Benefits of drinking milk:

  • Milk is one of the best sources of calcium for the body
  • Milk is rich in Vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium
  • Proper calcium intake contributes to strong and healthy bones
  • Drinking milk provides other benefits such as healthy teeth and nerves

Now that you know milk brings a lot of goodness with it, let’s look at the types of milk  generally consumed.

Cow’s milk

Pros of cow’s milk:

  • Cow’s milk comes in various types and brands (Table 1)
  • Whole milk can provide essential proteins, extra calories from fats, as well as vitamins and minerals for infants and older adults
  • It is high in calcium, which is the key for healthy bones
  • It is less expensive and widely available in grocery stores and convenience stores

  Cons of cow’s milk:                   

  • Whole milk is high in saturated fat as well as cholesterol as it’s animal based
  • Milk is a common cause of food allergy (allergy to milk protein)
  • Many people lack the enzyme to digest lactose (milk sugar). This is called lactose intolerance, which causes bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.

Table 1. Locally available cow’s milk brands 

Brand Type of milk Colour of packet Fat ( %)
Aavin Toned

Double toned

Standardised

Full cream

Blue

Magenta

Green

Red

3

1.50

4.50

6

Heritage

 

Toned

Double toned

Full cream

Standardised

Golden Cow

Slim

Family toned

Green

Pink

Orange

Blue (dark)

Yellow

Violet

Blue (light)

3

1.0

6

4.5

3

0.1

3

Mother dairy Toned

Standardised

Full cream

Blue

green

Orange

3

4.5

6

Amul

 

Toned

Double toned

Premium

Full cream

Blue (dark)

Blue (light)

Red

Pink

3

1.5

7

6

Cavin’s Toned

Standardised

Full cream

Magenta

Blue

Orange

3

4.5

8

Arokya Toned

Double toned

Standardised

Full cream

Blue

Pink

Violet

Orange

3

1.5

4.5

6.5

Jersey

 

 

 

 

Toned

Double toned

Skimmed

Full cream

Green

Orange

Pink

Red

3

1.5

4.5

6.5

Goat’s milk  

Pros of goat’s milk:

  • This milk is easily digestible by humans
  • It is rich in calcium and tryptophan level which is an essential amino acid
  • Goat’s milk contains selenium, an essential trace mineral that supports the immune system

Cons of goat’s milk:     

  • Goat milk is deficient in folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 which are all essential for growth and well-being
  • Hence exclusive goat milk diet in infants and young children can be dangerous
  • It is expensive compared to cow’s milk

Almond milk

Pros of almond milk:

  • It is low in calories and contains no saturated fat
  • It is a good source of vitamin A and can be fortified to be a good source of calcium and vitamin D
  • It is vegan and naturally lactose-free

Cons of almond milk:

  • It is not a good source of protein
  • It may contain carrageenan, which may cause digestive issues in some people
  • It affects thyroid hormone levels

Soy milk

Pros of soy milk:

  • It is a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, potassium, and isoflavones, plus it can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D
  • The fat content in soy milk is good for the healthy heart
  • It contains very little saturated fat

Cons of soy milk:

  • Soy is a common allergen for both adults and children
  • Too much soy may be a problem for people with thyroid conditions
  • Too much soy of any kind in the male diet can cause infertility problems

Rice milk

Pros of rice milk:

  • It is the least allergenic of milk alternatives
  • It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.
  • Rice milk is naturally sweeter than other milk alternatives        

Cons of rice milk:

  • It is high in carbohydrates, so it’s the least desirable choice for people with diabetes
  • It is not a good source of protein
  • Eating too much of a rice product may pose a health risk for infants and children due to inorganic arsenic levels

Coconut milk

Pros of coconut milk:

  • It is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous
  • It rarely causes allergies
  • Coconut milk is lactose-free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance

  Cons of coconut milk:

  • High amounts of saturated fat in coconut may contribute to weight gain
  • It is not a good source of protein
  • Excessive intake of coconut milk can lead to cardiovascular diseases

Conclusion:

While milk comes in various types and strengths, there is no one size fits all when it comes to ideal milk. The table below gives the nutritive value of some commonly used milk types.

Toned (also known as skimmed or low fat) milk is suitable for children and adults; it has many important health benefits including its ability to build strong bones and teeth, boost the immune system, protect the heart, prevent diabetes, eliminate inflammation, aid in weight loss and help stimulate growth. Pasteurised milk is superior to raw milk as it is microbe-free and ready to drink.

The recommended daily allowance of calcium varies by age and gender. From ages 19 to 70, men should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium, and 1,200 milligrams if they are 71 and older. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and 1,200 if they are 51 and older.

Make milk a part of your every day diet and enjoy good health!

Is it okay to feel the way I feel?

If you are feeling anxiety, fear, guilt, confusion, anger, depression or just drained of energy after you have been diagnosed with a heart problem – you’re not alone. It is extremely common for individuals to experience emotional disturbances when their routine life gets shaken up by a cardiac problem.

Questions often arise in our minds when a sudden health calamity strikes. While some of them have straightforward answers, some questions can only be answered with passage of time and especially after tiding over the acute phase.

Worries are to be expected. It is only natural that you are worried about your health and the thought about what is in store for you.

Your needs will vary depending on your health condition, your age, your social support and other factors, but everyone has needs that must be addressed by the healthcare team.

Let us see what emotions two of our patients felt.

As seen in the picture above, Mr. Arun (name changed) was rushed to the emergency department directly from his office within 30 minutes of the start of acute chest pain. He was 44 years old, married and had 2 young children. He was working in a multinational IT company as a project lead. He had never had a health check before this episode and was paranoid about what the doctors are going to say. He was diagnosed with a heart attack due to a severe block in an important coronary artery and advised angioplasty immediately.

Why me? Is this the end of my career? Will I live to see my daughters grow up? Can my block be reversed? …. These are just a few questions running through his mind prior to angioplasty.

Another individual, Mrs. Neela (name changed) was in her 70s and taking treatment for diabetes and hypertension when one day she suddenly collapsed to the ground while climbing stairs at home. Her maid who was at home at that time did not know what to do, panicked and called the family doctor’s phone. He promptly alerted the ambulance and instructed the patient to be admitted to the emergency department. The first aid crew in the ambulance provided CPR and successfully revived the lady. She was diagnosed with severe heart failure (Ejection Fraction 22%) and was initiated on multiple medications. Mrs. Neela was better within a week but she had several questions, concerns and unaddressed needs.

How do I prevent a future collapse? What should my caretakers do if I collapse? How can I improve the function of my heart? How often should I see the doctor? Can I carry out my daily duties?

This is where a cardiac rehab team comes into the picture. By providing answers to health-related questions, alleviating worries and offering evidence-based guidance and advice, our team of healthcare professionals work side by side with the doctors and nurses in the hospital, to establish a rapport with the patients and their family members. They provide ongoing emotional support during the hospital stay, the recovery period and most importantly during the intensive rehabilitation period of 3-6 months after the disease sets in.

 

Postural changes to relieve breathlessness

Did you know breathlessness or difficulty in breathing may be an important indicator of various health issues? Any unusual breathlessness while climbing stairs or walking can be caused by anaemia, heart ailments and lung problems. So don’t neglect the signal your body is giving, consult your doctor at the earliest!

Once the doctor has checked you, you will be explained about the underlying medical condition and prescribed some medications. It is very important that you follow the doctor’s instructions. You should report back to the doctor if the breathlessness does not improve or if it worsens.

In this blog post, we are going to see some easy postural techniques to relieve breathlessness (dyspnoea).Breathlessness is an unpleasant sensation and its severity increases as the disease progresses, leading to significant disability and a negative effect on quality of life.

RELAXATION POSITIONS

These positions will improve the use of breathing muscles with the assistance of gravity. It helps in the normal pattern of breathing and decreases your anxiety during breathlessness.

LYING                                                                                   

  • Lie on your side with 3-4 pillows
  • Keep your head & shoulder supported
  • Relax yourself
  • Breathe in & breathe out

STANDING (fig 1)

  • Stand near the chair/table
  • Bend forward
  • Rest your hands on the chair/table
  • Relax yourself
  • Breathe in & breathe out

SITTING WITHOUT SUPPORT (fig 2)

  • Sit in chair with foot on the floor
  • Bend forward
  • Rest your elbows on your knees
  • Relax yourself
  • Breathe in & breathe out

SITTING WITH SUPPORT (fig 3)

  • Sit in chair with foot on the floor
  • Bend forward
  • Rest your head & forearm on the pillow
  • Relax yourself
  • Breathe in & breathe out

BREATHING EXERCISE

Easy steps to be followed in all the above positions to reduce and manage breathlessness

  1. Sit in relaxed position
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose
  3. Breathe out even more slowly through your mouth
  4. Repeat the above steps 5-10 times