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Dairy Council

Adults

Milk and dairy foods can play an important part in a healthy balanced diet for adults - they’re not just for children!

They can be a good way to incorporate calcium into the diet but also provide other important nutrients including protein, phosphorus and B vitamins.

The benefits of milk and dairy foods for adults

  • Although the recommended intake of calcium generally reduces during adult years compared with teenagers due to slower growth, it is still an important nutrient

  • While most of our bone has been laid down by the age of 18, bones will continue to strengthen until the mid–thirties which means it is important for adults to continue to consume calcium as part of a balanced diet

  • Following the mid–thirties it is normal for a person’s body to slowly begin to lose bone. For women, there is a marked increase in bone loss around the time of the menopause

  • Calcium can help to reduce loss of bone mineral in postmenopausal women; for women over 50 years an extra 500mg is suggested so 1,200mg calcium per day in total

  • Bone loss can eventually contribute towards making bones more brittle and easily fractured

  • Getting enough calcium is important for both men and women, and milk and dairy foods can be a good way to incorporate calcium into the diet 

  • They can also provide other important nutrients including protein, phosphorus and B vitamins

  • Milk, for example, is a source of vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and vitamin B12 which is needed to make red blood cells, for normal psychological function and can contribute to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue

Find out more about the functions of milk and dairy nutrients for adults

Functions of Dairy Nutrients

Calcium

The calcium requirement for an adult is 700mg / day. The table below shows how dairy products could help meet these needs. These portion suggestions provide about 680mg of calcium.

Portions of dairy

  • 200ml semi–skimmed milk

  • 150g pot of low–fat yogurt

  • 30g of cheese