Tucked away, often in the back corner of the grocery store, is a group of foods that are a great nutritional gem — otherwise known as the dairy group.
The dairy group includes milks, yogurts and cheeses and are available in many flavors and varieties. Consuming the right amount of products from the diary group is important for a well-balanced diet.
Even those who are lactose intolerant can still enjoy dairy in their diet. There are products in the market now that go through an extra process to remove the excess lactose. There are also a number of plant-based dairy alternatives available for those who are allergic to the milk protein.
Here are five reasons to include dairy products into your regular diet:
Bone Health: Dairy products are a great source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. All of these nutrients play an important role in building and maintaining bone density in people of all ages.
Quality Protein: Dairy products can be a good source of protein, which is important for building and repairing muscle tissue among other things.
8 ounce serving of milk = about 8g of protein (13g in Fairlife ultra-filtered milk)
1 ounce serving of cheese = about 7g of protein (depending on the type)
150g serving of Greek yogurt = 10-12g of protein (about 15g in Icelandic yogurt)
1 cup serving of cottage cheese = 28g of protein
Energy Production: The lactose found in some types of dairy can easily be converted into usable energy by the body. Milk is also a good source of certain B vitamins that play a crucial role in energy production.
Feeling Full: The protein that is found in these dairy products also takes longer to digest than the carbohydrates. Add a dairy product to your meal or snack to help keep yourself fuller for longer and avoid excessive snacking.
Overall Well-being: Certain dairy products also contain essential nutrients like vitamin A, potassium and niacin; all of which have their own part in keeping the body healthy and in proper working order.
Products from the dairy department make a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet. It is important to be conscious of your serving sizes and balance your dairy picks with other food groups. If you have more questions regarding dairy or your personal nutrition needs, contact your local Hy-Vee dietitian.
You can find out more about the nutrition services available at www.hy-vee.com/health.
The information in this article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Tara Sallee is a Hy-Vee corporate dietitian dedicated to helping people live healthier and happier lives. Tara received a Bachelor degree in dietetics and nutrition from Missouri State University. Tara went on to attend Kansas University Medical Center where she received her Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition and completed her dietetics internship. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With a passion for nutrition and wellness, Tara is dedicated to educating customers and promoting healthy lifestyles.