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Dairy foods three times a day makes for a healthier lifestyle

Get summer started off on the right foot with "3-A-Day" of nutrient-rich dairy foods. From calcium to potassium, dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage your weight, reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.

Whether it's protein to help build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies or vitamin A to help main healthy skin, dairy products are a natural nutrient powerhouse. Those are just a few of the reasons that you should celebrate dairy this June. The good news about dairy products is, in addition to their great taste, research shows dairy may also help to reduce the risk of several diseases.

Osteoporosis is a major public health threat, affecting more than 28 million Americans. One reason why osteoporosis rates are so high is that many people, especially teens, women and the elderly, have critically low calcium intakes. Although dairy products contribute 73 percent of calcium in the food supply, most people aren't getting enough in their diet. Consuming at least three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese a day is an important step to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 50 million Americans and is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study, found that a low-fat diet providing three servings of low-fat dairy products and 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, significantly lowers blood pressure as much as some medications, especially when combined with a low sodium intake.

Low-fat dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese, may help control body fat, according to several studies published in the last year. Women who consumed the most calcium and ate at least three servings of dairy foods per day were 80 percent less likely to be obese than those with the lowest intake. Young women enrolled in an exercise study who had high calcium intakes gained less weight and body fat than those with lower calcium intakes.

The results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine show calcium may help reduce the risk of colon tumors. The addition of 1,200 mg of calcium, the amount found in about four servings of milk, yogurt or cheese, to the diets of high-risk patients reduced the return of single adenomas By 19 percent and reduced the total number of adenomas By 24 percent.

Whether you are 6, 16, or 60, the nutrients found in milk and other dairy products are critical to good health and the prevention of chronic disease. For a powerful nutrient punch include "3-A-Day" of milk, cheese or yogurt in your meal plan.

Web posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007

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