A new study has discovered that women who consume more calcium seem to be better equipped at warding off certain types of cancers than their counterparts with low calcium.
The research found that low fat milk, cheese and yoghurts could reduce the risk of some cancers by almost a quarter in women.
According to the study, which included almost 500,000 people, women who consumed the most calcium from dairy products or supplements were 23 per cent less likely to develop cancer than woman with the lowest consumption of calcium.
For men there was a 16 per cent reduced risk in those who had calcium rich diets compared with those who ate the least of the mineral, reports The Telegraph.
The study was carried out by a team from the National Cancer Institute in America and is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
To reach the conclusions, the research team studied questionnaires filled in by subjects in 1995 and 1996 on their diets and supplement intakes and matched it to cancer databases until 2003.
Over an average of 7 years of follow-up, 36,965 cancer cases were identified in men and 16,605 in women.
Men who consumed 1,530 milligrams per day had a 16 per cent lower risk of these types of cancer than those who consumed 526 milligrams per day. For women, those who consumed around 1,881 milligrams per day had a 23 per cent lower risk than those who consumed 494 milligrams per day.
The decreased risk was particularly pronounced for colorectal cancer and there was no effect seen on cancer outside the digestive system.
Lead author Yikyung Park, Sc.D., of the National Cancer Institute, said:
"Dairy food, which is relatively high in potentially anticarcinogenic nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid, has been postulated to protect against the development of colorectal and breast cancer.
"In conclusion, our findings suggest that calcium intake consistent with current recommendations is associated with a lower risk of total cancer in women and cancers of the digestive system, especially colorectal cancer, in both men and women."