6 Reasons to Get Your Dairy
Low-fat dairy offers many health benefits
6 Reasons to Get More Dairy continued...
Many brands of milk are fortified with vitamin D, and now some yogurt
manufacturers are joining in. Vitamin D is an important vitamin, yet many of us
don't get enough in our diets. Our bodies can actually make vitamin D if we get
adequate sunlight, but this can be a problem for people who are housebound or
who live in areas that don't get a lot of sun.
Drinking vitamin D-fortified low-fat milk is an easy way to boost your
vitamin D. Vitamin D has long been known for promoting healthy bones through
its role in calcium absorption. And recent research has indicated that it may
be helpful for all sorts of other things, from reducing the risk of certain
cancers to lowering blood pressure.
Getting calcium from food, rather than supplements, seems to do your bones
good. A study in Finland looked at changes in bone thickness and density in
girls 10 years old-12 years old whose diets were supplemented with either
cheese, calcium, or calcium plus vitamin D. The cheese-eating group appeared to
have bigger increases in bone mass than the other groups.
Researchers in Spain who studied more than 5,000 adults found that those who
reported consuming the most low-fat dairy (mostly skim and reduced-fat milk)
were 54% less likely to develop high blood pressure over a two-year period than
those with the lowest intakes of low-fat dairy.
Calcium has been suspected of having an effect on blood pressure in the
past. But the Spanish researchers found that only calcium from low-fat dairy
products was related to a lower blood-pressure risk. The researchers suggested
that this could have something to do with the proteins found in low-fat dairy
(caseins and whey), which may have actions similar to those of blood
After studying data from 827 men and women, Iranian researchers concluded
that those who consumed the most dairy (milk, yogurt, and cheese) were less
likely to have enlarged waists and metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that
has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
In a recent review article, a researcher from the University of Alabama at
Birmingham noted that although an analysis of overall calcium consumption has
not linked calcium to greater weight loss, there is increasing evidence that
calcium from dairy products may play a role in body-weight regulation.
For any or all of the above reasons, aim to work in some low-fat dairy each
day, whether it's from skim or 1% low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese,
reduced-fat cheese, or a combination.
Published January 2006.