Don’t boil away nutrients

Most Indians are unaware that prolonged and repeated boiling of milk leads to loss in nutrition. Vitamins and proteins are denatured and destroyed when milk is boiled at temperatures above 100º Celsius for over 15 minutes. Yet, in a majority of our households, milk is boiled more than thrice, skimmed, and hence deprived of most of the essential vitamins, proteins, amino acids and minerals.

About 80% of a child’s growth potential is achieved within the first two years of age, and milk is a critical source of nutrition for all infants during this period. Any loss of vital ingredients in milk, especially proteins and vitamins, could cause growth deficiency, weak bones, poor muscle development and neurological anomalies, among other long-term effects. It is imperative that parents be sensitised regarding improper boiling practices.

Milk is a vital source for vitamin D and vitamin B 12 that help in calcium absorption. Both these vitamins are highly heat sensitive and boiling milk destroys both substantially. To ensure that milk retains all its nutritional content intact, choose UHT milk packaged using aseptic technology which protects the nutrition in milk and the milk doesn’t require any boiling. Using copper utensils to boil milk is another cause for concern. With over-heating and re-heating, the milk comes in contact with toxic copper which leads to serious health ailments affecting the kidneys, poor cognitive development and IQ among children. Experts suggest avoiding buying milk in large quantities, and purchasing in a limited quantity, so that the essential nutrients are conserved to the maximum extent.

(The writer is a nutritionist)

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