By Amanda Wilks
From a young age many children are endlessly lectured on the benefits of drinking their milk and getting enough calcium with the goal of growing up “big and strong” to the point where many milk lovers may have their parents’ insistence to thank.
As it turns out, dairy products have more tangible benefits than simply keeping your bones strong and your teeth healthy. There’s more than one might think to a block of cheese or a container of yogurt and the health benefits are wide and varied.
If you’ve ever wondered just how truthful the echoing insistence of sitcom mothers could truly be, drink in these five facts about the health benefits you could gain by supplementing your diet with extra milk and cheese.
1. Vitamin D Keeps You Happier
Depression is an unfortunate mental health risk affecting over one in 20 American adults in a given year. Causes are many and varied, but studies have shown potential links between vitamin D levels and depression across various ages and social groups.
While occasionally known as the sunshine vitamin due to our bodies producing vitamin D through natural sunlight, milk-based products often contain health-boosting levels of the very same vitamin for those who might have a deficiency. Even if milk contains vitamin D, drinking milk alone might not rouse you from the blues, but you’ll work towards ruling deficiencies out of the question.
2. Full-Fat Might Mean Thinner Figures
Worried about your waistline? Many are and for good reason given how often studies crop up telling you how different foods have been perceived as good or bad for one’s health in recent years, but milk-based products are often strong contenders for healthy choices year-round.
In fact, links between full-fat dairy intake and obesity show that those who consume more milk-based foodstuffs with higher levels of fat often suffer from a lower percentage of obesity, while lower-fat diets show no positive correlations.
3. It’s Not Just Tasty, It’s Plain Good for You
Fitting a plethora of necessary vitamins and nutrients into a calorie-restrictive diet can be a real pain. Finding ways to supplement areas one might be deficient in can take a small handful of vitamin supplements alone, let alone trying to squeeze in enough calcium and healthy fat intake to ensure proper health and adequate adult weight.
The body absorbs nutrients from different sources in different ways, but it takes in calcium from milk and milk-based foods more readily than from non-milk sources such as leafy greens and soy products. If you’re worried about the level of calcium you’re drawing, taking it in from a more natural source might assist your body in properly processing and storing the calcium that your body needs.
4. Your Heart Might Work More Efficiently
A recent study conducted in Spain showed that those who take in low-fat products derived from milk report lower instances of high blood pressure to a significant degree of up to 54 percent, when compared to those who take in very little low-fat milk. The researchers have theorized the proteins in milk act in a way not unlike blood pressure-lowering medications.
If you suffer from high blood pressure it may not replace a proper diet and careful medication schedules, but taking any extra strain off of your heart can only be a good thing in the long term.
5. Full Fat Can Keep You Fuller, Longer
Do you find yourself constantly grazing throughout the day? Not in a literal sense, but heading to the pantry every half hour for another handful of chips or a sugar-laden treat can start to show on your body faster than you might realize. Choosing healthy foods that offer increased satiety after consumption can keep your hand out of the cookie jar in a literal sense, as fattier foods often offer increased satisfaction after eating and can keep you feeling fuller, longer.
If that’s not enough, milk products that are advertised as being lower in fat occasionally make up for this lack of fat content by boosting sugar levels. This is especially noticeable in yogurt where sugar content can be distressingly high despite low-fat options being advertised as healthy choices.
In the end, how you choose to take in your dairy doesn’t matter quite as much as choosing to consume it. Whether it’s cheese on a pizza or just a big glass of milk to go with your favorite cookie, the health benefits of your choices can help boost your mood, keep your weight consistent and might even help your heart stay strong for years to come.
Author Bio: Amanda Wilks is a contributing author for The Kitchen Advisor, passionate writer and cooking enthusiast. As an advocate of healthy living, she has a great interest in everything related to healthy foods and cooking techniques and she enjoys writing on these topics with every occasion she finds. Learn more about Amanda on Twitter.