Got milk? It should be, got enough milk? The next segment of Eating Well, Aging Well lifestyle series shares why dairy is important, including its nutritional benefits, and how to meet the recommended daily requirement.
The secret ingredient for healthy living is having enough dairy in your diet. The body needs an adequate amount of nutrients to keep you healthy. The nutrients found in dairy that help fuel your body are:
Vitamin D – helps with
Our body uses vitamin D for proper cell growth, nerve and muscle function, and a healthy immune system.
An essential mineral our body needs to build strong bones, clot blood, contract muscles, pump the heart, control blood pressure and stimulate normal nerve function. We have to replenish this important mineral to stay healthy because our body loses calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces.
It is recommended that older adults consume about 1,200 mg of calcium per day. To meet this requirement, consume three to four good sources of calcium or three to four cups of dairy. In general, one cup of milk, yogurt, soy milk or 1.5 oz. of natural cheese can be considered as one cup of dairy.
If you want the health benefits, but not the dairy products, opt for alternative calcium-rich foods. Great alternative sources include:
Canned sardines or salmon fish
Calcium-fortified juices and plant-based milk alternatives