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Facts about Milk and Dairy


Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many diseases in the baby. The precise components of raw milk vary by species and by a number of other factors, but it contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and calcium as well as vitamin C. Cow's milk has a pH ranging from 6.4 to 6.8, making it slightly acidic.

Milk powder

Milk powder is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness. Powdered milk and dairy products include such items as dry whole milk, nonfat dry milk, dry buttermilk, dry whey products and dry dairy blends. They are dried into a powder form and used for human and animal consumption. The main difference between production of powders for human or for animal consumption is in the protection of the process and the product from contamination. One purpose of drying milk is to preserve it; milk powder has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and does not need to be refrigerated, due to its low moisture content. Another purpose is to reduce its bulk for economy of transportation since milk is about 88% water and it is much cheaper to transport the dried product.

Dairy and life stages

Dairy products are important in the diet of all age-groups. Milk and dairy are often considered foods for babies and children however this is not the case. Milk and dairy are suitable for all age-groups, both young and old and have an important impact in all stages of development and life.

Nutrients and dairy

Dairy is the term used to describe milk-based or milk-related products. The dairy foods milk, cheese and yogurt are a natural source of nutrients such as protein and calcium. Incorporating milk, cheese and yogurt into your diet can contribute greatly to your nutritional intake and status.

Milk is one of the most nutritionally complete foods available on the food market to date.

It is naturally a good provider of a whole range of nutrients essential to growth, development and maintenance of the human body and contains no artificial preservatives or colourings.

Relatively small quantities of milk can provide a significant proportion of daily nutrient requirements for all age groups making it nutrient rich relative to its energy content.

In addition to its contribution to nutrient intake, increased milk consumption has also been linked to reducing the risk of numerous health problems such as osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity to name but a few.

Milk therefore makes a significant contribution to the human diet through provision of the macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Dairy and health

Healthy eating is a top priority for many individuals. People eat food, not nutrients - however the combination and amount of nutrients in the foods we eat can greatly effect our health. A healthy, balanced diet is essential in optimising health and reducing the risk of disease.

Making simple alterations to our diet and lifestyle can impact greatly on our bodies and our long term health. A healthy, balanced diet is made up of five main food groups and milk and dairy foods are one of these.