There’s little doubt that our pandemic experience over the past year, has increased our focus on our 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 multiple benefits for working adults, from giving us the energy to get through the day and promoting gut health to helping us get a good night’s sleep and strengthening our immune systems.
Dairy has your back – To achieve and maintain wellness, your body needs adequate energy levels, a healthy gut and a strong immune system. 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, that support your immune system. Dairy is a nutritious food that is tasty and convenient to use, any time of the day. Including milk, maas, yoghurt or cheese in your diet will help to ensure that your body gets what it needs.”
Energy to get you through the day – Dairy foods are convenient, ‘all-in-one’ products that are easy and quick to consume. They 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 you 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 the body and needs to be taken in from protein-rich foods. Milk protein also makes you feel fuller for longer and can help prevent snacking unnecessarily. According to Rediscover Dairy, for athletes and recreational sports enthusiasts, milk and flavoured milk offers a good rehydration option after a workout, while also helping with muscle recovery and repair.
Gut health for overall wellbeing – 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 your overall wellness. Eating adequate amounts of yoghurt, maas or kefir daily 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 wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet that includes foods from all the different food groups will help build a strong immune system, powering up your productive and active lifestyle. Protein, vitamin A and zinc provided by milk are especially beneficial in keeping your immune system strong, and probiotics provided by fermented dairy products give extra support.
A good night’s sleep – It’s true, a glass of warm milk before bed will help you sleep more peacefully. Elevated stress levels often interfere with our ability to get a good night’s rest. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan. The body uses 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 body 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 healthy lifestyle.