Want to make sure your children have adequate amounts of both Vitamin D and iron? For many years, parents have been struggling to determine exactly how much milk is good for their kids. Giving your children too much milk each day can lower their iron levels significantly but not giving them enough can severely reduce their Vitamin D intake. So what should you do to make sure your kids get all the nutrients they need for a healthy lifestyle?
According to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics this week, 2 cups of cow’s milk a day will give the average child enough Vitamin D without compromising their iron levels.
“We found that … around two cups a day is appropriate. For the average child, any more milk than that seems to reduce iron stores,” study author Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, explained.
It’s no secret that both Vitamin D and iron are critical for good health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and develop strong bones. It’s also proven to help decrease the risk of certain diseases such as autoimmune diseases, respiratory problems and cardiovascular issues. Iron is crucial for brain development, especially in young children. Children who do not receive enough iron in their diet run the risk of developing anemia, a conditional that can impair physical and mental development.
To find out exactly how much milk is essential for children each day, Maguire and his team analyzed the health of over 1,300 children between the ages of 2 and 5. Parents were consulted to find out how much milk the children consumed on a daily basis. The children’s Vitamin D and iron levels were then measured via blood tests and the results were clear: “As cow’s milk consumption increased, vitamin D levels increased but iron levels decreased. Two cups of cow’s milk daily provided sufficient vitamin D for most children.”
The study’s authors noted that “most children” didn’t mean all children. Children with darker skin pigmentation required more than two cups of milk per day during the winter months. If consuming more milk wasn’t ideal for these children, it is recommended that they consider a Vitamin D supplement during those months.
Parents wondering exactly how much milk to feed their children now know: 2 cups a day is probably best. “Milk is a very good source of nutrition, but only up to a point,” Maguire said. “Too much of a good thing may not be a good thing.”
Do you agree that 2 cups of milk per day is a good amount for children?
You can read an abstract of the study here: Journal Pediatrics.