Healthy eating made easy: part 7, Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives (mostly reduced fat)
I’m starting to sound like a broken record! Most Australians are only getting about half the recommended serves of dairy each day. Eating or drinking reduced or low fat milk, cheese and yoghurt is recommended for most people over 2 years old. If you prefer to follow a dairy free diet or have an intolerance to lactose (the sugar found naturally in dairy products) you should aim to include some of the alternative products made from soy, nuts or grains (soy milk, almond milk, rice milk etc.). Choose varieties that have at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml. Avoiding dairy products or their alternatives can have a negative impact on your long term health. Some people avoid milk products because they believe it increases mucus, but there is no scientific evidence that connects milk products to mucus production. If you believe you have an allergy or intolerance to milk products, you should see your doctor to be diagnosed.
The chart below shows that as a food group, dairy is a great source of calcium. Sardines and other fish with edible bones are also a great source of calcium. Vitamin D, calcium and regular load bearing exercises work together to help maintain good bone health. There is more to dairy than just calcium though! Dairy also contains a number of other beneficial nutrients, such as; protein, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and zinc.
If you are trying to put on some lean muscle, milk is for you. No need to spend all your money on expensive protein supplements. Milk contains all the essential amino acids and is a great source of protein.
Some ways to incorporate dairy into your day:
A low fat latte
A Small tub of yoghurt
A Glass of milk
A Slice of cheese in a sandwich
Milk on cereal for breakfast
How many serves of milk do I need each day?
Women 19 to 50yrs = 2 ½ serves
Women 51yrs plus = 4 serves
Pregnant or Lactating women = 2 ½ serves
Men 19 to 70yrs = 2 ½ serves
Men 70yrs plus = 3 ½ serves
Infants 1 to 3yrs = 1 to 1 ½ serves
Girls 4 to 8yrs = 1 ½ serves
Girls 9 to 11yrs = 3 serves
Girls 12 to 18yrs = 3 ½ serves
Boys 4 to 8yrs = 2 serves
Boys 9 to 11yrs = 2 ½ serves
Boys 12 to 18yrs = 3 ½ serves
What is a serve of Dairy?
Anyone unable to drink or eat milk products due to allergy or malabsorption should talk to their doctor or dietitian about other ways of getting their required calcium intake.
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