It’s June, that means it’s time to celebrate National Dairy Month!
By: Marjorie Zastrow, Nutrition Field Specialist, SDSU Extension
June is National Dairy Month. Initially it was stared to help promote drinking milk and has now changed into a celebration for the contributions made to the world by the dairy industry. National Dairy Month is a great way to kick start the summer by consuming nutrient-rich dairy foods.
Dairy foods contains essential nutrients to help better manage a healthy lifestyle. Consuming dairy foods provides health benefits through these essential nutrients:
- Calcium is used for building bones and helps maintain bone mass, which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Potassium helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Vitamin D functions in the body to maintain the proper levels of calcium and phosphorous therefore helping maintain and build bones.
- Protein helps to build and repair muscle tissue.
- Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy skin.
Consuming dairy foods is important, but it is also important to choose fat-free or low-fat choices within the dairy group. Choosing foods within the dairy group with high saturated fats and cholesterol can lead to health implications. Diets that are high in saturated fats can increase the "bad" cholesterol levels or LDL (low-density lipoprotein). High LDL levels in the blood can increase heart disease. So to help keep cholesterol levels healthy, select fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
There are many different choices of dairy foods, and you are not limited to milk and cheese. Some examples include: yogurt, calcium-fortified soymilk, milk-based desserts. And for those who are lactose intolerant, smaller portions may be better tolerated and there are lactose-free and lower-lactose products available.
These are many reasons to celebrate and consume dairy foods all year long!