June is National Dairy Month. For many years dairy products have been known as an important source of nutrients for growing children. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent sources of protein, vitamin D, and potassium. Just one cup of milk has 8 grams of protein and 25% of the calcium our bodies require for an entire day.
Dairy definitely plays a key role in a balanced diet. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to dairy can help promote heart health and prevent disease.
If you are lactose intolerant, many people find that they can still safely enjoy moderate amounts of cheese and plain yogurt. For example, half an ounce of cheese and 1/2 cup of protein-rich yogurt are typically good options on a daily basis for someone who struggles with lactose intolerance.
For overall well-being try adding 2-3 servings of dairy to your diet is a positive choice for most people. One serving of dairy is considered one cup of milk, one cup of protein-rich yogurt, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, or 1 oz of cheese. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of leafy greens, nuts, berries, fish, and yogurt can be a wise choice for building muscle and maintaining bone density.
Calcium is the most abundant nutrient in our bodies, and one of the richest sources of calcium is cows milk. Calcium not only helps maintain strong bones and teeth but it also helps with communication between our brain and other regulating systems in our body like cardiovascular functioning. Adding more calcium to your diet is easy and delicious.
Here are some recipes to help incorporate dairy into your meal plan from our Clearly Dietitian.