Not only are milk and dairy foods delicious, but they also can reduce your risk for chronic diseases when included as part of a healthy eating plan.
In fact, studies show nutrient-rich dairy foods, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, may help to reduce the risk for diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dairy foods are important sources of calcium and vitamin D in American diets, which help to improve bone health especially in children and adolescents and prevent the onset of osteoporosis in adults, most of whom do not get enough of these nutrients.
Improving Bone Health
Dairy foods are a good or excellent source of several essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, protein and vitamin D, that work together to build and help protect bones. By enjoying three servings of low fat 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.
Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure
A flexible, balanced eating plan called The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) recommends more fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy foods, whole grains, nuts and legumes. These all-star foods create a nutrient synergy that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH is recognized in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a healthy eating plan similar to the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern and is good for people concerned about heart health.
Reducing the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Not only are dairy foods, including milk, cheese and yogurt, filled with essential nutrients our bodies need, but they also may help reduce inflammation. Studies also show that, for those ages 9 and older, enjoying three servings of low fat or fat free milk, cheese or yogurt every day, as part of a balanced eating plan, may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and stroke. A growing body of evidence indicates that low fat and fat free milk and dairy foods may be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes as well.