Boiling milk not only kills germs but also destroys nutrients. Is there a way out?

As you pick up those packets of milk delivered every morning, boiling the whole lot is probably your first thought. Now the question is: why do you boil milk? Some do it out of habit, some know that boiling kills germs and some to make it last longer. Boiling milk is an effective way of dealing with disease-causing organisms. Although it does not remove all impurities, it does kill most of the dangerous bacteria and other organisms. But it also kills the nutrients However when you reach for that glass of milk every day, you are looking for your daily dose of nutrition.

Milk is a veritable store house of nutrients. It is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Minerals like Calcium and vitamins like Vitamin A, D, B1, B2, B12 and K are found in good quantities in milk. Boiling affects many of these vital nutrients in your milk, depriving you of the nutrition they provide. Particularly vulnerable to destruction are the B group of vitamins.

So is there a way to retain the nutrients? Yes there is. Here are some basic don'ts

Don't boil milk at very high temperature for a long time

Don't leave your milk out in the open after boiling. Refrigerate it immediately.

Don't heat your milk repeatedly.

Don't forget to stir your milk while boiling.

Don't use microwave-ovens to heat and re-heat milk.

These practices rob milk of vital nutrients. Doing away with these practices help but it may not be easy even if people are conscious of the mistakes they are making. “Imagine! Being so careful about as simple a thing as boiling milk. I try to do it correctly but honestly, ensuring that you are heating it at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time, among a range of other precautions, is a bit tough”, says Shraddha, a housewife and mother of two.

So, it all boils down to walking the tightrope between safety and nutrition. Rendering your milk safe to drink doesn't necessarily mean you have to compromise on nutrition. If you have to boil your milk, make sure that you do it correctly.

The writer is a Delhi-based dietician.