“Got Milk?” I asked in one of my previous posts, where I described the numerous health benefits of drinking at least 24 ounces of milk everyday.
As you already know after reading that post, milk is an excellent source of complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids which are required to meet our physiological needs), one of the primary sources of bone-building calcium for adults and also a treasure-trove of vitamins (especially D and K).
So if 24 ounces of milk are all you need in a a day, is there any specific reason to get 8 of those ounces just before going to bed at night? Read on:
- Casein absorption: Almost 80% of the protein found in milk is in the phosphorus-containing form known as casein – a complete protein. Casein is hydrophobic (literally “scared of water”) and so it is not soluble in water but instead appears in milk as a suspension – and for this reason it is also called “Micellar Casein” (separated without the use of chemicals). The human body, however, processes casein a little uniquely. Unlike whey (another dairy protein) which the body can absorb very fast, Micellar Casein takes a while to be absorbed into the cells and so its processing is not a high priority task for the body. Milk consumed during the day will still slowly get you the protein, but when consumed at night it gives the body the best chance of maximum absorption. You can read a good description of Micellar Casein at N101.
- Tryptophan: Remember those 9 essential amino acids I keep harping about? Well, turns out one of those is the sleep-inducing tryptophan. If you are wondering where you have heard that before, it is the same chemical found in turkey leading people to feel sleepy after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. Of course scientists point out that tryptophan works best on an empty stomach and so it would be wise to give a gap of atleast 1-2 hours between dinner and your glass of milk!
- Controlled snacking: With an 8 oz glass of milk reserved to be your final snack of the day, you are that much less likely to indulge in a heavier, diet-crashing, cake/cookie/pastry snack when hunger hits at bed-time. Your trusted elixir will keep you well satiated.
- Get to 24 ounces: I don’t know about you but with a full-schedule day, I find getting 24 ounces of milk a pretty difficult goal to achieve. Even if you ensure 8oz in the morning and somehow manage another glass during the day, you are still likely to fall short of your target. Unless you make the bedtime glass of milk a regular habit.
- Calcium: What better time to get some calcium into your system than when your body most needs it to build strong bones and damaged muscles caused by exercise? Remember you don’t build your body in the gym – you build it when you sleep/rest.
There you have it readers – 5 pertinent reasons to drink a nice, tall, warm glass of milk right before bedtime at night. Just make sure, though, that you are drinking either skim or 1-2% milk and not the whole-milk variety – leave whole milk for the babies!
[tags]health, fitness, nutrition, milk, got milk[/tags]