This shouldn't come as much of a surprise: milk is good for you, say the experts. Now, a new recommendation suggests that kids should drink up to two glasses of milk per day for the optimal health benefits.
The Atlantic reports that milk, while loaded with vitamin D, has one small problem: it can block iron from other sources of food from being absorbed in the body. That's a big problem for kiddos, who need vitamin D and iron for healthy bones and healthy brains. So researchers from Canada tracked more than 1,300 "healthy urban preschoolers" and their milk-drinking habits, as well as blood tests. After measuring vitamin D and iron levels from the blood tests, the researchers found what they already knew: that as milk consumption increased, vitamin D levels increased but iron levels decreased. The researchers said the low iron levels may be blamed on milk being too good a nutritious food, and that kids were likely too full after drinking milk to be eating iron-rich foods.
So what's the final verdict? Two glasses of milk per day should keep both vitamin D and iron levels optimal in kids, the study, published in the Pediatrics journal, says. But two factors can change the game: skin pigmentation, and the weather. Darker skin pigmentation, reports HealthDay, makes it harder for the body to make vitamin D from sunlight. Likewise, winter months — with little sun — also can affect vitamin D levels in the body; the researchers suggest additional vitamin D supplements for children with darker skin pigmentation, especially during the winter.