A recent review says that daily consumption of dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt can provide a unique package of nine essential nutrients at a low cost per serving.
Several prominent nutrition researchers have detailed an updated review of the health benefits of consuming dairy foods, which contributes to the well-established evidence that consuming three to four daily servings of dairy foods each day is a convenient and affordable way to get several key nutrients.
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Children and adolescents between the ages of 9-18 need, on average, four servings of dairy foods a day to meet calcium recommendations and at least three servings to meet magnesium recommendations. Adolescents who do not regularly consume dairy, on average, only meet 40 percent of the Adequate Intake for calcium.
The evidence supports the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation to meet nutrient needs through foods, including dairy foods, rather than supplements. Studies continue to show that dairy foods provide a unique nutrient package beneficial for bone mass and play a major role in lifelong bone health.
Low-fat and fat-free dairy foods play a key role in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. Eating the recommended servings of dairy foods can lower blood pressure and is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Studies have shown that dairy foods may favourably impact body composition and weight maintenance, particularly in overweight or obese adults who consume three servings of dairy foods daily while moderately reducing daily caloric intake.
Dairy foods play a vital role in building a diet that contains the nutrients Americans consistently do not consume enough of including calcium, potassium and magnesium. The most practical way to meet these nutrient recommendations may be to add an additional serving of dairy to the current daily recommendation.
The review has appeared in a supplement to the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN).