Foods that reduce stress: Milk

Black Baldy

By Cgoodwin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Drink your milk kids, drink it to the very last drop, do that and you will grow up to be big and strong. Do those words sound familiar? These are the types of words grownups would tell us when we were kids. Some of us would listen and drink the milk and some of us wouldn’t listen, either because we didn’t like milk or because we just didn’t want to listen to the grownups.

But now we are older and a little wiser (some of us anyway) and we realize that for the most part the grown-ups were right and we should drink milk (unless you are lactose intolerant, then you should avoid the stuff).  But did you know that apart from making us “big and strong”, milk can help us in other ways too, like help deal with stress?

Here’s an article from dailymail.co.uk, titled, “Could a glass of milk help reduce your stress levels?” written by PAT HAGAN FOR MAILONLINE. In this article they mention how a protein found in milk called lactium has a calming effect on our body, lowering our blood pressure and the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Apparently scientists first got interested in the calming effects of milk when they noticed how calm babies became after drinking the stuff. The scientists conducted some tests and came to the conclusion that a protein called casein played a key role in all of this. However while casein is good enough to calm babies, adults would need to drink an impossible amount of milk to have the same effect.

So a French company called Ingredia Nutritional, developed a protein called lactium which is a highly concentrated version of casein. They tested the stuff out on 190 volunteers and supposedly it works at reducing stress and anxiety. A company called Boots is now selling the stuff in capsule form, calling it Equilibrium with Lactium. Well what this article tells me is that while milk won’t get rid of stress and anxiety significantly, it can help uplift your mood a little so it doesn’t hurt to take some for your physical and mental health.

But wait there’s more. Here’s an article posted on fitday.com titled, “6 Health Benefits of Milk”  In the article point number 5 talks about how milk can help with stress. They say that a glass of warm milk can help relax tense muscles, soothe your nerves and it has even been proven to reduce PMS.

Here’s another article posted on livestrong.com called, “Why Does Warm Milk Make You Sleep Better?,”   written by Karen winter. In this one they talk about tryptophan, an amino acid found in milk. In the body, tryptophan is converted to the happiness hormone serotonin. Although the amount of tryptophan in milk is very small, it helps increase the serotonin levels in your brain, and can help reduce depression too.

So, the next time you will yourself reaching the breaking point, try taking a glass of warm milk. It’s definitely a healthier alternative to drowning your sorrows.

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