Most people have some level of skepticism about milk, whether it's because they've heard that cow's milk isn't good for humans or because they simply don't like the taste. But if you're one of those people (and even if you aren't), consider this: Milk and other dairy products are a great source of nutrients that can help keep your body healthy. In fact, studies show that milk may offer a number of health benefits including reducing the risk of osteoporosis and colorectal cancer. And while whole milk is usually considered unhealthy by many nutrition experts, solid cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan are actually some of the best choices when it comes to eating dairy—so long as you don't eat too much!
1. Milk and dairy products can help protect you from osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and more likely to break. This can happen as you age, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions or medications.
Calcium is an important mineral that helps build strong bones, so it's no surprise that dairy products are a good source of calcium. You need to get enough calcium during your childhood and adolescence, when your body is growing rapidly--and after those years if you want to keep your bones strong as an adult.
Your daily intake should be based on your age: The amount varies from 1,300 milligrams (mg) per day for children aged 9 through 18, up to 1,000 mg per day for women aged 19 through 50 (including pregnant and breastfeeding women); men from 19-70 need about 1,000 mg per day while adults over 70 need up to 1300 mg. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends getting two servings from each food group every day--so if you eat three meals with two snacks in between them then each meal should have at least one serving.
2. Dairy can benefit your arteries and cholesterol levels
You may be wondering how dairy products can contribute to heart health. The answer is simple: calcium. Calcium is a mineral that's abundant in dairy products, and it plays a key role in bone health and muscle contractions. But it also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure) and osteoporosis--all common conditions that affect millions of people worldwide.
Dairy products are also rich in potassium--a mineral that helps lower blood pressure by regulating fluid levels in the body. In fact, just one cup of low-fat milk contains nearly 10% of your daily recommended intake!
3. Dairy is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease
- Dairy is high in calcium, which helps to keep bones and teeth healthy. It also plays a role in keeping blood pressure normal by helping to regulate the amount of calcium that passes through your kidneys.
- Calcium can reduce the risk of heart disease by 1/3 when consumed regularly.
- Dairy products are rich in potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure levels. They're also full of magnesium--an essential mineral needed for normal muscle function and nerve transmission--that can help reduce high blood pressure as well.
4. Milk may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that individuals who consumed at least one serving of low-fat dairy per day were less likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than those who consumed less than one serving per week. The researchers concluded that this association was likely due to calcium, which is known for its role in promoting bone health but also may play a role in preventing certain types of tumors from forming.
It's important to note that this research doesn't mean you should start drinking more milk if you don't already--it simply means that if you already enjoy it, there's no reason not to keep doing so! And while plain old skim isn't necessarily better than whole (unless your doctor specifically tells you otherwise), there are plenty other ways to get your daily dose without filling up on calories: try adding some yogurt into smoothies or mixing some cheese into pasta sauces.
Whole milk and solid cheeses are the best choices on this list.
If you're looking for a solid source of calcium, cheese is one of the best options out there. One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar contains more than 30% of your daily recommended amount--and it's also packed with vitamin A and B12.
Cheese is also an excellent source of protein: 1 ounce (30 grams) has about 7 grams in it, which is almost as much as an egg or two tablespoons of peanut butter! This makes cheese a great choice if you need something quick and easy before going to bed or after waking up in the morning; just make sure that you don't eat too much at once because consuming too much saturated fat can lead to heart disease over time.
We hope you're convinced that dairy is a good choice for your health. But remember, not all dairy is created equal. Whole milk and solid cheeses are the best choices on this list. They offer plenty of nutrients and fat for your body to use as energy, but they don't come with any added sugar or artificial flavors like many low-fat options do. If you're looking for something sweet after dinner tonight (and who isn't?), try some Greek yogurt topped off with fresh fruit instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt!