Nutrition is such an important concept to so many people today and there are a number of sources quality nutrients can come from. As your options continue to increase here, though, it’s important not to forget about one of the single most beneficial providers of nutrients: dairy proteins.
At Idaho Milk Products, we’re proud to offer a range of milk protein concentrate and isolate products, which have applications in everything from healthcare and weight management to active nutrition and more. What are some of the most notable nutrients found in dairy proteins and why do these matter to customers purchasing dairy ingredients? Here’s a rundown.
Not Just Milk
To be clear, while milk is naturally a top source of dairy proteins, it’s not the only one in the dairy world that offers these amazing benefits. Other dairy products such as cheese, butter, micellar casein and whey can be excellent sources of high-quality nutrients that can have a profound impact on your health in a number of ways.
As we move forward in today’s blog, we’ll be discussing the broad realm of dairy nutrients as a whole — while also noting certain specific dairy formats that tend to produce the highest quantities of these nutrients.
Dairy and Nutrients
Dairy foods and beverages contain an enormous number of nutrients that the body needs. These include:
- Quality protein: Found in milk, cheese, yogurt, whey and much more, dairy proteins are high-quality and complete, meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of protein, and they’re critical for cell repair, muscle growth, immune system function and more. These are especially important for athletes, people engaged in regular strenuous activity, and those in recovery from injury.
- Zinc: Another key nutrient found in dairy, zinc is often lacking in people’s diets. This important mineral helps support a healthy immune system and it also plays a role in cell growth and repair.
- Vitamin A: Milk, in particular, is also a fantastic source of vitamin A. This important vitamin is critical for vision health, supports the immune system and helps keep skin healthy.
- Calcium: Another key nutrient found in dairy, calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. It also helps with nerve function and muscle contraction.
- Phosphorous: You also can’t forget about phosphorous when discussing the nutrients found in dairy products. This mineral helps with cell function, energy production and protein synthesis — among other things.
- Vitamin D: Yet another essential nutrient found in dairy, vitamin D is critical for bone health. It also supports the immune system and helps with calcium absorption.
- Potassium: Last but not least, potassium is a key electrolyte that’s essential for proper muscle function. It also helps support healthy blood pressure levels.
In addition to the nutrients we just discussed, dairy food products also contain several other B vitamins that help the body convert food and drink into helpful fuel. These include:
- Vitamin B12: This nutrient helps with the formation of red blood cells and DNA, and it also supports neurological function. It’s found in many different dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter and whey.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2): Another important B vitamin, riboflavin helps with energy production and cell function. It’s found in milk, cheese, butter and whey.
- Vitamin B3: Also called niacin, this vitamin helps with cell function, energy production and lipid metabolism. It’s found in milk, cheese, butter and whey.
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): This vitamin is critical for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and it’s also essential for the synthesis of cholesterol, hormones and red blood cells. It’s found in milk, cheese and butter.
Dairy’s Association With Positive Health Outcomes
Due to its abundance of quality nutrients, dairy products have direct connections with several positive health outcomes in people. These include:
- Reduced blood pressure: Because dairy is high in potassium and low in sodium, it’s often recommended as part of a diet for people with hypertension, or high blood pressure.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease: In addition to its effects on blood pressure, dairy’s nutrient profile also helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Stronger bones and teeth: As we briefly mentioned before, dairy’s high calcium content is great for bone and teeth health. This also includes a reduced risk of osteoporosis later in life, especially in women.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes: Dairy’s mix of nutrients has also been linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Dairy as Part of the Diet
For all of the reasons we’ve gone over here and more, health professionals and dietitians often recommend that dairy be a part of a person’s regular diet. Additionally, dairy is an excellent source of high-quality protein and provides a wide range of essential nutrients and is associated with several positive health outcomes. Some people may need help from dieticians or other professionals to make sure they’re including the right amount of dairy in their diet, but for most people, between 2 and 4 servings per day is a good goal.
As you can see, dairy ingredients are a great source of quality nutrients that can have positive impacts on health. This information is vital not only for consumers, but also for manufacturers and marketers of dairy-based products.
For more on this, or to learn about formulating with any of our dairy protein isolate or concentrate products, speak to the team at Idaho Milk Products today.