In a new study, researchers found that consuming adequate milk and dairy products in different life stages can help prevent various chronic diseases.
For example, they found that a daily intake of milk and dairy products in older people may reduce the risk of frailty and sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of aging.
Milk intake during pregnancy may improve birth weight, length, and bone mineral content during childhood for the child.
The research was conducted by a team of scientists from different Spanish, European, and American universities.
Milk and dairy products contain many nutrients and contribute to meeting the nutritional requirement for protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid.
However, the consumption of dairy products is on the decline, falling short of the level recommended in many countries, as the potential benefits of milk and dairy products are starting to be questioned.
In the study, the team did a systematic review of 14 published studies to examine the role of milk and dairy products in the prevention of chronic diseases.
The researchers review the worldwide scientific literature on the role of dairy products in health and in the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, colon or bladder cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
They also examined the effects of dairy products on growth, bone mineral density, generation of muscle mass, and during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
The team found no association between dairy product consumption and increased risk of mortality.
The total intake of low-fat dairy products was linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
In addition, a higher intake of dairy products was linked to a decreased vertebral fracture risk.
The team also found that dairy product consumption was linked to lower risks of ischemic heart disease and heart attack.
The finding suggests that intake of dairy products does not increase the risk of heart disease and could have a slightly protective effect.
The researchers also found that the consumption of low-fat dairy and yogurt may be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Finally, moderate consumption of dairy food was linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer and bladder cancer.
No associations were found for prostate cancer.
The team says that milk and dairy food intake may provide many health benefits, especially in the prevention of chronic health conditions.
They suggest that it can be beneficial if people add milk and dairy foods to their daily diet.
The leader of the study is Professor Angel Gil of the University of Granada (UGR).
The study is published in Advances in Nutrition, the third most important scientific journal in the world in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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