According to the USDA, consumption of dairy products may improve one’s health. Studies have linked a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to dairy product consumption, but mainly it promotes bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Dairy products contain calcium, which is necessary for building bones and teeth and helps maintain overall bone mass. Often the primary source of calcium in many people’s diets is dairy, therefore, eating dairy is essential during childhood and adolescence when bone mass is primarily built.
Also on the list of nutrients from dairy is potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Choose dairy products like yogurt, milk and soymilk to reap the most of this benefit.
In addition, dairy products can contain vitamin D, which promotes proper levels of calcium and phosphorus, also contributing to healthy bones. Milk and soymilk are fortified with vitamin D, and some yogurts may also contain the “sunshine” vitamin… check the labels to confirm.
So… exactly how much dairy do you need? Generally, the USDA recommends low-fat or fat-free dairy products for good health. Children ages 2-3 require 2 cups per day and those ages 4-8 should have 2½ cups per day. After age 9, the daily recommendation is 3 cups for everyone.