Why Dairy Plays A Key Role In Nutrition Assistance Programmes

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Nutrition Blog

Dairy foods and ingredients play a very important nutrition delivery as well as cultural role in the daily diets of people all across the world. Whether traditional fare or novel additions to regional preferences, dairy foods offer clear benefits to people of all ages. Specifically:

  • Dairy and dairy-containing foods contribute a lot of essential nutrients. These include protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium as well as magnesium
  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt are core aspects of healthy eating patterns, in addition to dietary guidance recommendations, in many countries

Dairy ingredients – such as like whey and milk proteins – support healthful and nutritious diets and are found in dairy-based beverages, yogurt, nutrition and energy bars, ready-to-drink beverages, oatmeal, snacks and powder for homemade smoothies and shakes.

Nutrition Benefits Of Dairy

Just one 236 ml serving of milk has 8 grams of protein, which builds – as well as repairs – muscle tissue (an equivalent serving of almond beverage contains only 1 gram of protein). One serving of milk also satisfies the daily values (DV) for the following:

  • Calcium (25%): Helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth
  • Riboflavin (35%): Supports body growth, red blood cell production and metabolism
  • Phosphorus (20%): Strengthens bones
  • Vitamin D (15%): Helps promote the absorption of calcium
  • Pantothenic Acid (20%): Helps convert food into energy
  • Potassium (8%): Regulates fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure
  • Vitamin A (15%): Promotes good vision and healthy skin
  • Niacin (10%): Promotes proper circulation

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Is It All About Calcium?

Milk and dairy usually provide almost one third of our recommended calcium intakes however the nutrition provided by dairy products goes way beyond just calcium. A single glass of semi-skimmed milk offers protein, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, riboflavin as well as pantothenic acid. This glass of milk offers a MASSIVE 72% of our daily needs for vitamin B12. The main dietary supply of B12 for vegetarians is dairy.

Together, the nutrients that are to be found in milk and dairy assist with:

  • Keeping muscles, bones, nerves, teeth, skin and vision healthy
  • Releasing energy from foods as well as reducing tiredness and fatigue
  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • Supporting normal growth and brain development
  • Supporting normal immune functioning

That’s pretty remarkable for a humble glass of milk! Guidelines recommend that milk and dairy products and their alternatives, form part of a healthy balanced diet, and lower fat and lower sugar options should be chosen where possible.

Milk, Dairy And Exercise

Milk and dairy can play a phenomenal nutritional role for people who keep fit and exercise regularly. Before exercising it offers carbohydrates for energy. After exercising it provides the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes to assist with muscle recovery as well as rehydration.

The mineral concentration of milk is very similar to that of sports drinks and is considered to be just as effective, if not better, than a sports drink or water for rehydration purposes.

Milk offers additional nutrients which may help the body retain fluid. In addition, milk is great for dental health. Eating and drinking dairy (or whey protein) is associated with larger increases in lean muscle gain and fat loss for those who are watching their weight.

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Trifocus Fitness Academy - Nutrition Specialist