Dairy foods provide a nutritional punch! They contain over 10 nutrients important for our general health, nervous system and muscle function, energy levels and, of course, bone health. More specifically, dairy foods are a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B12, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous as well as protein and low GI carbohydrates. Eliminating dairy foods unnecessarily from your diet means you’ll be missing out on more than just calcium.
It is troubling to note that most of the population does not meet their recommended intake of dairy foods. Rates of osteoporosis are incredibly high in the elderly population, which may be due to a lifetime of poor dairy intake. So, the alarming rates of osteoporosis could be slashed if people increased their intake of dairy foods.
So, how can we meet our recommended daily serves of dairy foods? That’s easy. Try adding milk to your cereal or porridge and perhaps including a dollop of yoghurt on top too; snack on yoghurt, custard, cheese and biscuits at mid-meal times; add ricotta or feta cheese to salads and pasta dishes; and down a glass of milk after gym or before bedtime.
And just to debunk that commonly held myth that dairy foods increase inflammation. In a nutshell, it’s nonsense. A recent review of the current clinical evidence actually showed that dairy has significant anti-inflammatory properties (1). The only time it causes inflammation is when it's ingested by someone who has a dairy allergy.
So, the take home message is: embrace dairy foods as part of your diet. Go and get yourself a milk moustache and wear it proudly. I certainly do.
1) Alessandra Bordoni, Francesca Danesi, Dominique Dardevet, Didier Dupont, Aida S. Fernandez, Doreen Gille, Claudia Nunes Dos Santos, Paula Pinto, Roberta Re, Didier Rémond, Danit R Shahar & Guy Vergères (2015): Dairy Products and Inflammation: A Review of the Clinical Evidence, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition