Dec 12, 2017
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National Dairy Month is about more than just Milk!

The USDA recommends that people nine years and older consume three servings of dairy products each day, however on average people are only consuming two servings per day. June is National Dairy Month and when thinking about this celebration, the first thought usually goes to milk, and milk means calcium. However, dairy products contain more nutrients than just calcium, and these nutrients come from more than just milk.

Consuming dairy products provides beneficial nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and protein. These nutrients are essential for maintaining overall health. Calcium is used for bone health, helping to maintain and build bone mass and teeth. Phosphorus aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Vitamin D is needed to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body, therefore also helping to build and maintain bones. Protein is used in multiple functions in the human body, from a major source of energy and building block, to making enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.

When choosing dairy products it is important to choose low fat and fat free dairy products. Choosing foods from the dairy group that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol can lead to health implications. High cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Opting for low-fat and fat-free dairy products can help to maintain a healthy body weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure in adults.

What does a serving of dairy look like? One dairy serving is equivalent to: 1 cup of milk, 2 cups of cottage cheese, 2 ounces of processed cheese , 1 ½ cups ice cream, 1 cup frozen yogurt, 1 ½ ounces of hard cheese, or 8 fluid ounces of yogurt.

Dairy products can be incorporated into daily cooking to add nutrients and meet the recommend number of servings per day. Low-fat or fat-free milk can be used to make pudding for a snack, or added to cream soups, allowing for the same flavor and consistency while lowering the calories and fat content. Yogurt can be used in making sauces, smoothies, and dips. It can also be used to top baked potatoes instead of sour cream. Incorporating adequate amounts of low-fat and fat-free dairy products into your diet not only tastes good, but is good for you too!

 

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