We have all heard that dairy is good for strengthening bones as it is high in calcium. As a child, you were told to drink milk to help you grow big and strong. But the benefits of dairy don’t just end there. Dairy is one of the most nutrient-rich liquids available. It is gifted to us from nature herself.
Is dairy a good source of protein?
Nature’s elixir is not only rich in calcium, it also contains a high amount of protein. This is why dairy is recommended for athletes. It acts as a great supplement that improves muscle growth and maintains energy levels over an extended period of time. A 250ml glass of milk contains roughly nine grams of protein. This is why giving it to growing children has been known to strengthen bones and increase muscle mass.
What else does dairy have to offer?
Besides calcium and protein, dairy is also rich in phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, and vitamin A. All of these vitamins and minerals are essential to the daily functioning of the human body.
What types of milk are available?
While there are roughly seven types of milk available, the standard selection includes whole milk, low fat, and lactose-low or free milk. You can also find buttermilk, 2% fat milk, skimmed milk, 1% milk, and A2 milk.
- Whole milk: contains 3.5% fat making it richer than alternative types of milk.
- Low fat milk: contains between 1%-2% fat and is lower in calories than full-cream whole milk.
- Lactose-low or free milk: this is milk without lactose and is usually consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.
What about lactose-low or free milk?
Lactose intolerance is when your body can’t properly digest the sugar in milk. This can cause you to experience tummy cramps, nausea, or bloating. Lactose-low or free milk is still rich in nutrients. Even if your body struggles to process lactose, you can still benefit from the protein, calcium, and other nutrients found in dairy.
So, how much dairy should you be consuming?
The recommended daily average is three portions of dairy a day. This can come in the form of milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, cream, and cheese. Three potions of dairy may sound like a lot, but you can split this up modestly. For example, you could drink a glass of milk, eat roughly 150g of yoghurt, and eat a slice of cheese that is as big as a matchbox.
If you are wondering what you can do with dairy, the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas that can help you incorporate dairy into your life:
- Hot milky drinks (like hot chocolate or cappuccinos)
- Smoothies and milkshakes
- Cream/yoghurt in curries and soups
- Frozen yoghurt
- Cheese sauce
You can also top almost any pasta dish, sandwich, or cooked dish with cheese or a creamy sauce. Just be aware that these meals may be calorie dense. However, if you incorporate them in moderation, you can make healthy, delicious, and nutritious meals with dairy.