Milk | Food Sciences | Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the main source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. In early lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the antibodies from mother to child and can reduce the risk of many diseases of children. The exact composition of raw milk varies by species and a number of other factors, but it contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and calcium and vitamin C. Cow's milk has a pH ranging from 6.4 to 6.8, making it slightly acidic.
In almost all mammals, milk is fed to infants through breastfeeding, either directly or by expressing the milk to be stored and consumed later. Some cultures, historically or currently, continue to use breast milk to feed their children until they are seven years old.
Human infants sometimes are fed fresh goat milk. There are known risks in this practice, including those of developing electrolyte imbalances, metabolic acidosis, megaloblastic anemia, and a host of allergic reactions.
In many cultures of the world, especially the Western world, humans continue to consume milk beyond infancy, using the milk of other animals (especially cattle, goats and sheep) as a food product. For millennia, cow's milk has been processed into dairy products such as cream, butter, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, and especially the more durable and easily transportable product, cheese. Modern industrial processes produce casein, whey protein, lactose, condensed milk, powdered milk, and many other food-additive and industrial products.
Humans are an exception in the natural world for young children consume milk past, despite the fact that many people have some degree (some as little as 5%) of lactose intolerance, a feature that is more common among people of African or Asian descent. The sugar lactose is found only in milk, forsythia flowers and a few tropical shrubs. The enzyme needed to digest lactose, lactase, reaches its highest level in the small intestine after birth and then begins a slow decline unless milk is consumed regularly. On the other hand, are often the groups that continue to tolerate milk have exercised great creativity in using the milk of domestic ungulates, not only cattle but also sheep, goats, yaks, water buffalo, the horses, reindeer and camels. The largest producer and consumer of cattle and buffaloes in the world is India. [ agriculture commodities ]