Scientists from the University of Granada found that milk and dairy foods could help many health benefits and prevent chronic diseases.
The research was published in Advances in Nutrition and was conducted by Angel Gil and Rosa Ortega.
Milk and dairy products contain multiple nutrients and are very important to meet the nutritional requirements for protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, and pantothenic acid.
However, consumption of dairy is decreasing and moving away from the advised level in many countries and the potential benefits of milk and dairy products for health have come under question.
But many studies have reported health benefits linked to dairy consumption.
In the current study, the researchers aimed to review scientific evidence about the impact of dairy intake on health and death and on the prevention of diverse chronic diseases.
They found positive associations between maternal milk intake during pregnancy and healthy development during childhood.
In addition, dairy products may reduce the risk of frailty and decrease the risk of muscle loss in older people.
The highest consumption of dairy products did not clearly link with bone fracture risks. But a reduced risk of spinal cord fracture was found.
The team also showed the differences between high and low dairy consumption. There was no link between dairy products and death risk.
They also found that low-fat dairy foods are linked to a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
The evidence supports dairy foods do not adversely affect heart risks and may even have a subtle protective effect.
There is an inverse link between the consumption of dairy products and heart disease and heart attacks.
The evidence also suggests that dairy consumption, particularly low-fat dairy and yogurt is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Likewise, moderate consumption of dairy is linked to a lower risk for colorectal and bladder cancer and has no link with prostate cancer.
Finally, milk or dairy foods did not boost inflammation in healthy people, overweight/obese people, or people with other metabolic problems
The team also found that the fortification of dairy products with phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids may be a good way to improve heart health.
Phytosterols (called plant sterol and stanol esters) are found in plant cell membranes. Phytosterols are similar in structure to cholesterol in the human body and block cholesterol from being absorbed.
The researchers concluded that adequate milk consumption at various stages of life has health benefits and that it can help prevent several chronic diseases.
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