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Dairy & Sport

Whether an elite athlete, involved in a local sports club or a dedicated gym bunny; a healthy, balanced diet is essential for meeting energy and nutrient demands.

A variety of factors influence our individual nutritional needs such as gender, age and body size. The type, amount and timing of food will also depend on the competitive level you are involved in and the specific demands of your training schedule.

The National Dairy Council (NDC) have produced a Sports Nutrition Handbook ‘Fuelling Wise for Sport and Exercise’, in partnership with Sport Ireland Institute to advise on topics such as losing weight; gaining muscle; the role of carbohydrates, protein and fats; tips on hydrating; recovery meals; and supplements. You can download this booklet, or our ‘Top Tips for Peak Performance’ poster here.

Milk – nature’s recovery drink?

Interesting research is emerging on the specific benefits of milk in sport, with potential roles in the areas of recovery nutrition being explored. Milk naturally contains nutrients that can help address the 3 ‘R’s of post-exercise recovery:


Milk contains lactose which can help to start the refuelling of carbohydrate stores. Flavoured milks – which contain higher carbohydrate amounts in the form of added sugar – may be useful after a very intense session, or when quick recovery is needed.


Milk provides the high-quality proteins, whey and casein. Protein plays a valuable role in the normal growth and maintenance of muscles.


Milk is a fluid (naturally composed of about 87 % water) and naturally contains electrolytes such as potassium.

As well as being an affordable, natural, versatile and widely available choice after exercise, milk provides a range of vitamins and minerals which have roles in health that are particularly useful for those who are active. For example, milk provides calcium, protein and phosphorus to support bone health; vitamin B2 to assist with energy release; iodine to contribute to normal cognitive (brain) function; and vitamin B12 to support normal functioning of the immune system. Discover more about the ‘milk matrix’ here.