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Importance of dairy products in our diet

Dairy products have been an important part of our diet for thousands of years. Milk and other dairy foods are loaded with several nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Regular consumption of these food products offers numerous health benefits, including maintaining strong bones and a healthy body. 

The most well-known dairy products are milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice creams, paneer, butter and cream. Such food items in the dairy group offer nutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin, zinc, choline, magnesium, selenium, pantothenic acid and niacin. 

Health benefits of dairy products:

Dairy products offer a unique pack of nutritional components that are vital for maintaining a healthy body. Intake of dairy products in adequate amounts can reduce the risk of unhealthy conditions such as heart and colon diseases.

Muscle health

Milk protein contributes to building lean muscle mass. Milk consists of whey and casein proteins that are utilized in health supplements (sold for the growth and maintenance of muscles). The amino acid content present in these proteins contributes to muscle growth and muscle repair, especially after a workout. Casein is slow to digest protein that helps in muscle breakdown. Whey is a fast-acting and quick-absorbing protein that helps gain muscle and lose a significant amount of body fat. It has a higher concentration of leucine, a branched chain of amino acids that stimulate the building of new muscle tissue. Additionally, other nutrients in milk help in retaining body fluids and also assist with rehydration after exercise. 

Bone health

Dairy food products are a great choice for improving bone & teeth health. Protein, vitamin D, and calcium content in dairy play a crucial role in maintaining bone health and density, decreasing osteoporosis risk. The calcium content in milk can be easily absorbed and used by the body, so milk/milk products are one of the best reliable sources of calcium. Bones are constantly in a state of renewal, so building and maintaining them from childhood to elderly age is important. Regular consumption of dairy products increases bone mineral density, which can lead to improved lifelong bone health. 

Heart health 

Consuming low-fat dairy products helps control blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes and diseases like coronary heart disease and stroke. People who regularly consume dairy products have a reduced risk of heart diseases. Minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Potassium, in particular, helps in regulating body fluids and managing blood pressure. 

Digestive health

Cultured foods like yoghurt and kefir are good for gut health. They contain probiotics, which are live microorganisms that can survive in the gastrointestinal tract. Studies suggest that, when consumed in the right amount, these microorganisms provide a wide range of health benefits and also reduce the risk of various diseases. The nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fat present in milk act as a protective matrix to help the probiotics survive in the gut. 

Dental health

Nutrition that includes dairy foods helps to keep your teeth healthy. Milk is a healthy drink that can reduce dental cavities and erosions. Milk and milk products contain anti decay nutrients like calcium and phosphorus. Such nutrients have important roles in achieving good dental health. They help to protect the teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay. 

Other health benefits of dairy products:

Adding a minimum of three serves of dairy products to your diet each day can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of hypertension. 

The riboflavin present in dairy products supports metabolism and the production of red blood cells, whereas vitamin A promotes good vision and healthy skin.

Together, the nutrients in milk and milk products can keep your body healthy, support growth, support brain development & immune functioning, release energy from food, maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk of diseases.

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