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6 reasons to include dairy in your diet

Nutrition

6 reasons to include dairy in your diet

Ava Morris July 30, 2018
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Low-fat dairy products

The author of this article admits that he is a baby boomer though one of the youngest members of this generation. If you are a baby boomer then you probably remember that many of us used to drink milk at each meals. Unlike today we drank soda drinks at the parties, during our travels and when eating out in the downtown.

Today you can avoid drinking a glass of milk at each meals but our mothers were still right: dairy products offer a lot of benefits for our health (only low-fat dairy).

Indeed, people like dairy. Statistics show that while consumption of whole milk and butter has dropped, consumption of cheese and ice cream increased. (Does it really mean that we replace high-fat dairy products for other dairy products?)

The good news is that while baby boomers were moving towards the 50s, the selection of yogurts was so huge that we couldn’t even imagine it in our most daring dreams. Low-fat cheeses also took their place on the shelves in grocery stores’ dairy sections. Never had it been so easy to include some useful dairy products in your everyday diet.

Low-fat products is the solution

A recent study showed that the more dairy products people consume, the more percent of the total calories they get from saturated fats (certainly, it’s no good). The other side of the story is that the more dairy products people eat, the more they get several essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, A, D and E.

Is it possible to get all these nutrients from dairy and avoid negative effects? It is! The solution is low-fat dairy products. The less fat in dairy, the less calories, saturated fats and cholesterol you get, while the amount of protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals is quite high.

6 reasons to include dairy in your diet

Here are 6 reasons to consume more low-fat dairy products:

  • Calcium and protein

Some dairy foods contain an impressive amount of calcium and protein, two substances essential for all people. Unfortunately, ice-cream contains very little calcium and protein unlike milk, yogurt, low-fat and fat-free farmer cheese that are rich in calcium and protein. For example, a small bowl of non-fat yogurt will provide you with one third of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 17% of daily protein.

Foods Calcium (mg) Proteins (g)
2% sharp Cheddar cheese, 30 g 200 7
Partly skimmed Mozzarella, 30 g 207 8
Fat-free milk, 1 cup 301 8.4
Low-fat milk (1%) with Vitamins A and D, 1 cup 270 9
Low fat (2%) farmer cheese, 1 cup 180 26
Low-fat yogurt, 1 cup 448 13
Fat-free raspberry yogurt, 1 cup 350 8

  • Vitamin D

Many brands producing milk enrich it with Vitamin D and now some of those producing yogurts also follow their example. Vitamin D is one the essential vitamins for our bodies, however the diet of many people today does not include a lot of it. Our own body can produce Vitamin D with an adequate amount of sun light. However, it is a big issue for people living in buildings poorly lit with natural light. Low-fat milk enriched with Vitamin D is a simple solution to increase the level of the vitamin in the body. Vitamin D has long been known for its ability to strengthen bones because it plays an important role in calcium absorption. Some recent studies showed that it can mitigate the risk of developing cancer and lower blood pressure.

  • Bone mineral density

Calcium from food but not food supplements maintains good bones health. A Finnish study showed changes in the bone mineral density in 10-12 years old girls whose diet consisted of cheese, calcium or calcium plus Vitamin D. It was found out that girls who had been eating cheese had higher bone mass than girls from other study groups.

  • Blood pressure

Spanish scientists studied more than 5.000 adults and found out that those who consumed low-fat dairy products (mostly fat-free or low-fat milk) had 54% less chance of high blood pressure during two years than those who consumed less low-fat dairy foods. There were assumptions that calcium can influence blood pressure but the Spanish scientists discovered that only calcium in low-fat dairy foods can regulate blood pressure. They assumed that it can be associated with proteins in low-fat dairy (for example, caseins and whey) that can have similar action as high blood pressure medications.

  • Metabolic syndrome

Having studied the data of 827 men and women, Iranian scientists came to conclusion that those who ate dairy more often (milk, yogurt and cheese) were least likely to have a wide waist and develop metabolic syndrome which is a group of syndromes increasing the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases.

  • Weight

In his recent study, an expert found out that while calcium does not directly associated with the weight loss, there is evidence that calcium from dairy foods can play a significant role in weight regulating.

If you have any of these issues, try to eat some low-fat dairy foods everyday. It can be fat-free or 1% milk, low-fat yogurt, farmers cheese, low-fat cheese or a combination of these foods.