Milk and dairy foods don’t just taste delicious, but they’re also good for your body. Drinking 8 ounces of nutritious milk can help you get one step closer to meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended 3 servings of lowfat or fat-free milk and dairy foods a day.
How important are milk’s nutrients to my health?
Dairy provides a unique package of nine essential nutrients, making it one of the most nutrient-rich beverages you can enjoy. One 8 ounce glass of milk delivers the following nutrients:
- Calcium (25% Daily Value, or DV): Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in nerve function, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
- Niacin (10% DV): Niacin (or niacin equivalent) is important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.
- Pantothenic Acid (20% DV): Pantothenic Acid, also known as vitamin B5, helps break down fats and carbohydrates for energy, manufacture red blood cells and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
- Phosphorus (20% DV): Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generates energy in the body’s cells.
- Protein (16% DV): Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and serves as a source of energy during high-powered endurance exercise.
- Riboflavin (35% DV): Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, helps convert food into energy — a process crucial for exercising muscles.
- Vitamin A (15% DV): Vitamin A helps maintain normal vision and skin, helps regulate cell growth and maintains the integrity of the immune system.
- Vitamin B12 (50% DV): Vitamin B12 helps red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to working muscles.
- Vitamin D (15% DV): Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and enhances bone mineralization.
It’s never too early, or too late, to make bone health a priority. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones become weak and more likely to break, and another 34 million have low bone mass, putting them at risk for osteoporosis.
What role do milk and dairy foods play in bone health?
Dairy foods are an excellent source of several essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin D, that work together to help protect bones. By enjoying 3 servings of lowfat or fat free milk, yogurt or cheese every day as part of an overall healthy diet, families, especially children and teens in their peak bone-building years, can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Not only are milk and dairy foods delicious, but they also can reduce your risk for chronic diseases.
In fact, studies show nutrient-rich dairy foods, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, may help to reduce the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as improve overall diet quality for adults and children.
What’s dairy’s role in preventing osteoporosis?
Dairy foods are an excellent source of several essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin D, that work together to help protect bones. By enjoying 3 servings of lowfat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese every day, families, especially children and teens in their peak bone-building years, can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
What is dairy’s role in maintaining healthy blood pressure?
Research shows the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which is a balanced eating plan that includes 2-3 servings of dairy foods and 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables, may help lower blood pressure. Dairy foods are an integral part of DASH because they contain a trio of minerals — calcium, potassium and magnesium — that play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Can dairy foods reduce the risk of chronic diseases?
Studies also shows that, for those ages 9 and older, enjoying 3 servings of lowfat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt every day, as part of a balanced eating plan, may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.
A growing body of evidence also indicates that milk and milk products are associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
The Learning Connection
Research shows improved nutrition — starting with breakfast — coupled with increased physical activity may lead to improved academic performance.
What is the learning connection?
The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments, a report released by GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council, American College of Sports Medicine and the American School Health Association, reinforces the “learning connection” — the crucial link between quality nutrition, physical activity and academic performance. Findings suggest:
- More than half (62%) of all teens say they do not eat breakfast every day of the week.
- Breakfast eaters have better attention and memory than breakfast skippers.
- Three in four high school students aren’t active for the recommended 60 minutes each day.
- Students who were more active during school performed better on standardized tests for reading, math and spelling.
How can schools encourage healthy habits?
Schools are an ideal place to promote childhood health and wellness because American kids spend more than 2,000 hours in school each year. Proven school wellness programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 empower students to make positive changes at school and can bring healthy changes to life in the classroom.
School breakfast programs are especially important and may positively impact children’s nutrition and learning. In fact, research shows that those who eat breakfast have better attention and memory than breakfast skippers and students who are more active during school perform better on tests.