What Milk Can Do for You
People who have a diet rich in milk and milk products can reduce the risk of
low bone mass throughout the life cycle. Foods in the milk group provide vital
nutrients, including calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Build Stronger Bones
- Diets rich in milk and milk products help build and maintain bone mass.
This may reduce the risk of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.
- Milk products are especially important to bone health during childhood and
adolescence, when bone mass is being built.
- Diets that include milk products tend to have a higher overall nutritional
- Calcium-fortified foods and drinks such as soy beverages or orange juice
are other sources of calcium but may not provide other necessary
Vitamins and Minerals
- Calcium helps build stronger bones and teeth. Milk products are the primary
source of calcium in American diets. Diets that provide 3 cups or the
equivalent of milk products per day can improve bone mass. Diets rich in
potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Milk products,
especially yogurt and milk, provide potassium.
- Vitamin D functions in the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and
phosphorous, thereby helping to build and maintain bones. Milk that is
fortified with vitamin D is a good source of this nutrient. Other sources
include vitamin D-fortified yogurt and vitamin D-fortified ready-to-eat
- Low-fat or fat-free milk products provide little or no fat.
Lean Towards Fat-Free or Low-Fat
Choosing foods from the milk group that are high in saturated fats and
cholesterol can affect heart disease risk.
Diets high in saturated fats raise LDL "bad" cholesterol levels in
the blood. High LDL cholesterol, in turn, increases the risk for heart disease.
Many cheeses, whole milk, and products made from them are high in saturated
fat. To help keep blood cholesterol levels healthy, limit the amount of these
foods you eat. In addition, eating a lot of fats makes it difficult to avoid
getting more calories than you need.