Celebrate June Dairy Month by consuming nutrient-rich dairy foods, advises LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames. Milk, cheese and yogurt, for example, may help you better manage your weight and reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three daily servings of nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products.
Reames says an 8-ounce serving of milk is a gold mine for many daily value nutrient requirements. Daily value is the recommended intake for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet.
A glass of milk provides 30 percent of the daily value of calcium. Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. This mineral also plays an important role in nerve function, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
When fortified, a glass of milk provides about 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D. Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and enhances bone mineralization. Milk is one of the few dietary sources of this important nutrient.
The protein in milk is high-quality, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids or "building blocks" of protein. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and serves as a source of energy during high-powered endurance exercise. An 8-ounce glass of milk provides about 16 percent of the daily value for protein.
Milk provides 11 percent of the daily value of potassium, which is more than the leading sports drink. Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure. It’s also needed for muscle activity and contraction.
A glass of milk provides 10 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. This nutrient helps maintain normal vision and skin. It also helps regulate cell growth and maintains the integrity of the immune system.
Just one 8-ounce glass of milk provides about 13 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12, which helps build red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to working muscles.
Milk is an excellent source of riboflavin, providing 24 percent of the daily value. Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin helps convert food into energy – a process crucial for exercising muscles.
Milk contains 10 percent of the daily value for niacin. Niacin is important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.
Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generates energy in your body's cells. Providing 20 percent of the daily value, milk is an excellent source of phosphorus.
Reames offers several tips to help you include more milk and dairy foods in your diet.
– Try one of the new flavored milk drinks.
– Top your favorite vegetable or baked potato with lowfat shredded cheese.
– Mix low-fat or fat-free yogurt, fruit and low-fat granola for a crunchy treat.
– Choose cereal, milk and fruit as a snack, not just for breakfast.
– Cook oatmeal in milk instead of water.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3329, or firstname.lastname@example.org