There’s little doubt that our pandemic experience over the past year, has increased our focus on our family’s health and well-being. The trend towards ‘functional foods’, those with benefits beyond simple nutrition, has been accelerated and is likely to carry through into our post-Covid lifestyles. In this quest for healthier eating, many of us are discovering more about some of the foods that have been our favourites since childhood. Milk is a good example. It’s a whole food with a unique combination of nutrients that contribute to health at all stages of life. 1 June is the celebration of World Milk Day, and it highlights that dairy offers the family multiple benefits, from meeting our daily energy requirements and promoting gut health, to helping us get a good night’s sleep and strengthening our immune systems.
As a parent, dairy has your back
Dairy gives everyone in your family nutritional support to help cope with busy and demanding days. Always delicious and amazingly versatile, it’s a favourite kids’ food. That’s such a blessing because dairy is a powerful daily nutritional boost, ideal for growing bodies. Registered dietitian at Rediscover Dairy, Maretha Vermaak says, “Milk is a source of valuable nutrients such as good quality protein, naturally occurring sugars, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals and an array of different fats. This one-of-its-kind nutritional profile offers a range of benefits from building bones and strengthening teeth, to supporting digestion and the immune system.” It’s so convenient to use, any time of the day, and in so many different ways. Dairy can easily be part of every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks and lunchboxes. Including milk, maas, yoghurt or cheese in your family’s diet three times a day will help to ensure that your body gets what it needs. Check out these family-focused dairy ideas from Rediscover Dairy.
Energy to get your family through the day – Dairy foods deliver a package of naturally occurring nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body while also providing energy. Vitamin B12 helps with energy metabolism and also keeps both adults and kids mentally alert throughout the day. The protein in dairy is complete, which means it provides all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair body tissues. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our bodies and need to be taken in from protein-rich foods. Milk protein also makes you feel fuller for longer and can help to prevent unnecessary snacking. For the active family, milk and flavoured milk also offers a good rehydration option after high energy games, sports and outdoor family fun, while also helping with muscle recovery and repair.
Gut health for overall wellbeing – Young or older, a healthy gut microbiome – your intestinal community of microorganisms – supports overall health and wellbeing. Fermented dairy foods such as yoghurt, maas and kefir provide probiotics, which are active bacterial cultures that benefit the gut microbiome and impact on overall health. Adequate, daily portions of yoghurt, maas and kefir in your family’s eating regime helps to promote the diversity of the gut microbiota.
Strong immunity supports a productive and active lifestyle – We are all concerned about keeping healthy and warding off infections and illnesses that may impact on our family’s wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet that includes foods from all the different food groups will help build a strong immune system, so that each member of the family can lead a productive and active lifestyle. The protein, vitamin A and zinc provided by milk are especially beneficial in keeping immune systems strong, and the probiotics provided by fermented dairy products give extra support.
A good night’s sleep – It’s true, a glass of warm milk at night will help you and your children sleep more peacefully. Elevated stress levels often interfere with our ability to get a good night’s rest. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan and our bodies use tryptophan to produce the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin, which aids relaxation.
Dairy is affordable all-round nutrition
Milk and dairy are nutrient rich, packed with many essential nutrients, and are definite nutritional value for money. By just adding milk, maas or yoghurt to a meal, you can make healthy food choices and give your family much-needed nutrients to stay strong and healthy.
Celebrate World Milk Day
Milk and dairy are worth celebrating indeed! Join in on 1 June this year and be part of World Milk Day. Connect with Rediscover Dairy on Facebook and Instagram and tap into all the great ways to include dairy in your family’s healthy lifestyle.