When we think of rehydrating ourselves, we generally think of water. Water is absolutely essential for life and is the medium in all chemical reactions in the body. Water also makes up the cell fluid, controls electrolyte balance in our bodies and provides protection to vital tissues. So, in saying that, how is milk connected to hydration?
Current research is showing that milk (full fat or skim) has hydrating benefits similar to water but also provides other needed nutrients. As milk contains proteins, fat and lactose, it is much slower digested than water and therefore keeps you hydrated for longer. As mention milk contains proteins and is one of many food items that is a complete protein, meaning it contains the essential amino acids. This along with hydration also helps with recovery and can be a great option for after exercise or physical activity. With these additional macronutrients it allows the water in milk to be entered into the blood stream a lot slower, allowing for a hydration status to be higher than water.
The body needs hydration to help support the fight infections, carry nutrients around the body and lubricate joints. It is especially important in athletes who are losing fluid at a higher rate through sweat, need to refill and rehydrate with a food item that provides the needed resource.
Milk also contains sodium which helps the body hold onto water like a sponge and can result in less urine loss and less produced. As sodium regulates your thirst and will help reduce fluid loss. It will also help reduce muscle cramps. Therefore, milk has a less dramatic drop in osmotic pressure in blood than some other fluids. And this can cause less of a diuretic effect on the body.
What is dehydration then? Is it when we have a sudden drop in fluid stores below the level required to support normal body water levels. When dehydration occurs, we may feel dizzy, core body temperature will rise, fatigue, nausea and many other symptoms.
Milk contains 85 to 95 percent water, with the remaining composition being the protein, fat and sugars. With more research showing a strong connection in not only its nutrient benefits but also its hydration advantages, It shows how milk is a super fluid in helping us stay healthy.