Ayurvedic medicine has its origin from India. It is an effective alternative health system. Now, according to Ayurvedic medicine, cow’s milk is best taken in the evening (1).
But why so? Well, proponents of Ayurvedic medicine believe that milk has sleep-inducing effects, and is also heavy to digest, thus making it unsuitable as a breakfast drink.
But does this claim have any scientific backing? Or can one drink milk at any time of the day and still get its full health benefits? Well, that’s the goal of this article – to brainstorm on the best time to drink milk. Does timing really matter? Let’s see.
Is the timing of any significance?
In many instances, you may get the most benefits when you drink milk at a particular time of the day.
For general improvement in health
Milk contains many nutrients. These nutrients all contribute to good health. You can easily add these nutrients to your diet by taking a glass of milk at mealtimes.
A cup of whole milk supplies the following nutrients (2):
- Vitamin D: 16 percent of the daily value
- Potassium: 7 percent of the daily value
- Magnesium: 6 percent of the daily value
- Calcium: 21 percent of the daily value
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
- Protein: 8 grams
- Calories: 149
Milk contains calcium which is essential for growth and development of strong bones. Potassium and magnesium, on the other hand, contribute efficiently to the regulation of blood pressure. It is also worth noting that the calorie content of milk is on the low side, though it is rich in protein (3, 4).
Most milk produced in America are fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. In fact, vitamin enhances bone health by facilitating the absorption of calcium by your body. But the bad news is that some countries do not fortify their dairy products (3).
But then, there’s no research stating that one can reap the full benefits of milk by drinking it at a particular time of the day.
For muscle gain and weight loss
It is a known fact that milk contains a lot of protein, so it can aid muscle building and weight loss.
Foods rich in protein enhances weight loss by causing a boost in metabolism satiety (after meals). Satiety is the “feeling of fullness.” By increasing satiety, milk causes a significant reduction in daily calorie intake (5, 6).
3-month research involving 10 young female subjects found that those who drank milk (fat-free) for five days each week experienced significant improvements in fat loss and muscle mass, compared to those who failed to drink milk (8).
From these results, it was deduced that the best time to drink milk for the purposes of weight loss and muscle growth appears to be immediately after workouts.
But then, one should note that taking large amounts of milk may trigger weight gain due to the intake of excess calories (9).
To improve digestion
There’s this belief in some quarters that milk bolsters digestion. However, this claim has no scientific backing.
With respect to aiding digestion, it is important to note that there is no set best time to drink milk. But then, you may drink it when having your meals to see if there will be any different.
However, kefir, yogurt, and other fermented dairy products can enhance healthy bowel movements and also promote digestion. These items are rich in probiotics which gives your gut microbiome a boost (10, 11).
Milk is not for everyone
People who are allergic to dairies or who are lactose intolerant should avoid milk.
Lactose intolerance refers to a person’s inability to digest lactose, also known as milk sugar. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, and diarrhea (12).
As a plus, diabetic patients or people with poorly-controlled blood sugar may want to watch their milk intake. The presence of lactose in milk may contribute to an elevation of blood sugar levels (13).
If you’ve cut down on your milk intake, you can choose from many plant-milk substitutes, such as soy, almond, hemp, and cashew kinds of milk. You may also search for unsweetened varieties or those free from unnecessary additives.
Milk from a cow is rich in nutrients, such as calcium, protein, among others.
There no scientific evidence to show that there’s the best time to drink milk. There isn’t. However, some studies have shown that drinking milk after a workout can facilitate muscle development or weight loss. The takeaway is that the best time to drink milk depends on individual needs and goals.