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MyPlate Week, Day 3: Delicious Dairy

June 8, 2011

Today [NL] is talking about the portion of the new MyPlate labeled “Dairy”. This particular food group is especially appropriate to be blogging about because in addition to being represented on the new USDA food icon MyPlate, it is also National Dairy Month in June.

And to celebrate this month’s ‘30 Days of Dairy’ as part of National Dairy Month [NL] is taking part in a blog carnival, hosted by National Dairy Council and you can see a list of those participating in the carnival at the bottom of this post or find the full list here.

Now let’s take a look at some of the reasons why dairy deserves to be celebrated and represented on the new USDA food icon, MyPlate.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Dairy is simply full of nutrients and offers many health benefits, the most prominent being a boost in bone health which is particularly important to young children who are growing and building bone mass. Consumption of dairy products has been shown to improve bone health and studies have also linked regular consumption of dairy to a reduced risk of bone disease like osteoporosis. But that’s not all, regular dairy intake has also been linked to:

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure in adults

What are the nutrients responsible for these health benefits? Some of the key nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. All of these play vital roles in the body including maintaining bone health and helping to build and repair the body’s tissues.

WHAT FOODS ARE CONSIDERED DAIRY PRODUCTS?

When one thinks of dairy products the first food that probably comes to mind is milk, but there are other great options to choose from. And remember, to get the most out of your dairy consumption, choose fat-free or low-fat dairy options when possible. Here are some other great dairy options:

  • Yogurt (fat-free, low-fat, reduced fat, Greek, frozen yogurt, etc.)
  • Cheese (American, Swiss, cottage cheese, mozzarella, etc.)
  • Calcium fortified soymilk

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?

For most, the recommended amount of dairy each day is about 3 cups. Here are some helpful tips to help you achieve the recommended daily amount:

  • Include milk or soymilk as a beverage at meals
  • Make yogurt-fruit smoothies to help you reach both your dairy AND fruit daily recommendations
  • Try low-fat yogurt or pudding for a snack or dessert

WANT MORE?

To learn more about MyPlate and each of the food groups on the icon, check out choosemyplate.gov. For more on the “dairy” food group and National Dairy Month, visit nationaldairycouncil.org and check out their blog carnival dedicated to celebrating dairy.

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