Although there are conflicting studies over whether dairy products belong in a healthy diet, the overall consensus is that unless you have a dairy protein allergy or lactose intolerance, dairy is an important and healthy component of a healthy eating plan.
The best source of calcium
One of the most obvious benefits of dairy is that it’s a great source of calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and makes up the majority of the skeleton. It’s very important that throughout your life, from childhood, through adolescence and into your elderly years that you consume sufficient amounts of calcium to first grow and then maintain healthy bones. This is particularly important if you are a woman, as calcium depletion becomes more rapid after menopause.
It’s recommended that adults consume 1000mg of calcium per day. If you are a woman over 50 or post-menopausal than this recommendation increases to 1300mg per day.
So how much dairy do you need to eat every day to meet these needs?
- 250ml milk (full cream, lite or skim) provides approximately 300mg calcium
- 200g yoghurt (full cream or low fat) provides approximately 360mg calcium
- 40g Cheddar cheese (regular or reduced fat) provides approximately 340mg calcium
That’s right! Just 3 serves of dairy a day helps you grow or maintain a healthy skeleton. It’s pretty easy.
Drink your milk as a skim cappuccino or poured over your cereal.
Dollop your yoghurt on top of your muesli or eat it as an afternoon snack to help curb your munchies. It’s also great for dessert with some freshly cut fruit.
Choose reduce fat cheese and put it on your lunch time sandwich, sprinkle it over homemade pizza or add it to an omelet or quiche.
Check out this post Non-dairy Sources of Calcium for other foods that contribute to your daily calcium intake.
Great for weight loss
There is quite a lot of research suggesting that daily dairy consumption can help with the battle of the bulge! The key is to make sure that you choose reduced fat or skim varieties and like all things keep an eye on the portion size.
Low fat dairy is a good source of protein and is therefore filling but relatively low in kilojoules. A 200g tub of yoghurt or glass of milk is a great afternoon snack to help curb your hunger and keep you feeling in charge of your appetite until dinner time.
Dairy for breakfast, combined with a high fibre carbohydrate is also a great way to keep you feeling fuller for longer in the mornings and a healthy breakfast is proven to help people eat better throughout the day.
Studies show that people following a healthy eating plan to lose weight were more successful when low fat dairy serves were included in the eating plan compared to to when it wasn’t.
Most people know that dairy is a good source of calcium but did you also know that dairy is a good source of other vitamins and minerals? Yep! Dairy contains vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin (another B vitamin), potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous.
What is your favourite way to enjoy dairy?