The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating dairy foods every day. Core dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are rich in essential nutrients and are known for providing many health benefits. So whether you use it in your morning smoothies, oats or with a spoon of Milo, here are five simple reasons why dairy is such an important ingredient to include in your diet every day.
1. Gut health
Cultured dairy foods such as yoghurt, kefir and even buttermilk provide the body with probiotics that are essential to keeping the gut healthy. Probiotics help balance the friendly bacteria in our digestive system and have been linked to a variety of health benefits including weight loss and immune function. Studies also show that probiotics may even be responsible for decreasing symptoms of the common cold.
2. Strong bones
Dairy is a great source of calcium and essential for healthy bones. Strong bones are key to leading long, healthy, active and independent lives. In Australia, osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in three men over the age of 60. Osteoporosis is a disease where bones become brittle and are at a higher risk of fracture.
3. Pearly whites
Did you know that in order to maintain that killer smile it takes a lot more than just brushing your teeth? Dairy foods play a specific role in dental health as they contain a unique combination of special anti-decay nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and the protein, casein. The Australian Dental Association recommends eating a small piece of cheese after consuming sugary food or drinks to help protect teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Milk has also been linked to a decreased risk of cavities, making it the drink of choice between meals.
4. Healthy weight
When trying to lose weight through a calorie-controlled diet, studies show that people who include at least three serves of milk, yoghurt or cheese a day can lose more weight, more centimetres from their waist and overall body fat compared to those who eat less dairy foods. Studies have also shown that high levels of dietary calcium promote fat breakdown and inhibit fat absorption in the body.
5. Stress less
Sitting down with a warm glass of milk is a great way to unwind after a long day at work or just a stressful day in general. Warm milk contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which help to manage muscle contraction. Meaning, milk can help to relax tense muscles and soothe frayed nerves. So the next time you are feeling a little frazzled, try drinking a glass of milk before bedtime to help you wind down.