Milk and dairy products: their role in health benefits and chronic disease prevention

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Researchers from the University of Granada have conducted a study published in Advances in Nutrition, exploring the potential health benefits of milk and dairy products.

Led by Angel Gil and Rosa Ortega, the research aims to examine the impact of dairy intake on health, chronic diseases, and mortality rates.

While there has been some debate regarding the benefits of dairy consumption, this study provides valuable insights based on scientific evidence.

Essential Nutrients in Milk and Dairy

Milk and dairy products are rich sources of essential nutrients necessary for a balanced diet.

They provide protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, and pantothenic acid. These nutrients play crucial roles in meeting our nutritional requirements.

Positive Associations with Development and Aging

The study highlights positive associations between maternal milk intake during pregnancy and healthy childhood development.

Additionally, dairy products may reduce the risk of frailty and muscle loss in older individuals, promoting healthy aging.

Bone Health and Fracture Risks

While the highest consumption of dairy products did not show a clear link with bone fracture risks, it was found to reduce the risk of spinal cord fractures.

This suggests potential benefits for bone health, although further research is needed.

Impact on Mortality and Chronic Diseases

The study found no link between high consumption of dairy products and an increased risk of death. Furthermore, low-fat dairy foods were associated with a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Dairy consumption did not adversely affect heart risks and may even have a subtle protective effect. In fact, an inverse relationship between dairy consumption and heart disease, heart attacks, and type 2 diabetes was observed.

Moderate dairy consumption was also associated with a lower risk of colorectal and bladder cancer, with no link to prostate cancer.

Inflammation and Fortification

The consumption of milk or dairy foods did not increase inflammation in healthy individuals, overweight/obese individuals, or those with other metabolic issues.

Additionally, the fortification of dairy products with phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids may improve heart health.

Phytosterols, similar in structure to cholesterol, block the absorption of cholesterol in the human body.

The findings of this study support the notion that adequate milk consumption at various stages of life can provide health benefits and help prevent several chronic diseases.

Milk and dairy products offer essential nutrients and have positive associations with child development, aging, bone health, heart health, and cancer risks.

The research highlights the importance of including milk and dairy products as part of a balanced diet for overall well-being.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and this plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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