Here’s to the one food we never outgrow! Milk. We call it ‘nature’s most nearly perfect food’, and for very good reasons. The overwhelming majority* of Canadian mothers seem to know this instinctively, when they elect to breast-feed their newborn infants, *(87.5%/2009). And as we grow up – and grow older – there’s simply no other food so rich in nutrients, and so right for promoting our overall health. That’s why Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2-3 serving of milk or milk alternatives a day. This is particularly critical for youth, (9 – 18) in their growth spurt years, when three to four servings of milk are recommended every day. But the fact is that two out of three Canadians are falling short – including the majority of teens and adults, which is why Gay Lea Foods, as Ontario’s largest dairy co-operative and maker of some of Canada’s most popular dairy products, is eager to help you learn more. So why exactly is milk so good for us? For starters, as most people know, it boasts a host of vitamins and minerals that are simply essential to build and maintain strong bones and teeth: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin and vitamin B6. But it’s more than just a bone-builder. The folates in milk, along with vitamin B12, help create healthy red blood cells, and lower blood pressure. The protein in milk does an excellent job of curbing hunger, and thus helps in a big way any who might be seeking to either control or lose weight. And the mix of 16 essential nutrients convert food into energy, fortify our immune systems, and inhibit the likelihood of our developing everything from osteoporosis to colon cancer. Recent research even suggests that one of our favourite stand-bys, low-fat chocolate milk, offers an excellent way to recover post exercise, equivalent to or better than popular sports drinks on every important dimension. Chocolate milk contains almost the same amount of sugar as pop. With most Canadians now preferring skim, (86%) or low-fat milk, and with all Canadian milk both hormone and antibiotic free, there’s simply no good reason not to follow your mother’s advice – and remember to drink your milk every day!