Spring Into Better Health with Dairy
Finally, it’s spring! It’s a time of renewal when many of us are inspired to update our surroundings, our wardrobes, and our diets. Perhaps you’re thinking of making more healthful dietary choices to help undo those unhealthy eating habits that may have crept in during the long, gray days of winter.
Start with Dairy
If you’re thinking about reevaluating your eating habits, taking a look at your dairy intake is a good place to start. The first question you should ask yourself is “Am I consuming enough dairy?” The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 3 cups per day of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, or yogurt for people nine years and older. Unfortunately, many Americans in this age bracket consume only about half of this recommended amount – on average only 1.6 cup equivalents of dairy a day. Adding just one more daily serving of milk, cheese, or yogurt can help meet the recommendation and close or narrow some of our nutrient gaps, according to a study in Nutrition Research.
Dairy Foods are Among Top Sources of Many Nutrients.
Milk and other dairy foods are tasty, convenient, and relatively affordable. They also provide a unique package of nutrients essential for good health and are an important part of any healthy diet. A new study in the journal Nutrients reinforces the importance of consuming nutrient-rich foods, such a low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt to help U.S. adults 19 years and older meet nutrient recommendations within their calorie needs. This study found that milk ranked No. 1 as a food source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin A, riboflavin, and phosphorus, and contributed only 3.8 percent of calories. Also, milk and cheese together accounted for nearly half of the calcium, nearly a quarter of the phosphorus, and slightly more protein than either poultry or beef.
Dairy’s Health Benefits Reinforced.
Intake of dairy foods is associated with health benefits. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines state “moderate evidence shows dairy consumption is associated with improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and with lower blood pressure in adults.” Newer scientific evidence reviewed in Nutrition Reviews led the authors to conclude “consuming more than three servings of dairy per day leads to better nutrient status and improved bone health and is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”
Looking for Fresh Ideas to Boost your Dairy Intake?