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Dairy – A Matrix of Nutrients

This one-minute video explains the unique nutritional value of dairy, known as the dairy matrix effect. It shows how food structure and nutrient interactions act together to produce an overall health effect.

The Dairy Matrix Effect

8 Reasons to Drink Milk

Milk is a natural, delicious and nutritious drink and is an important component of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

It’s well-known that milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is a key nutrient for the normal growth, development and maintenance of our bones. In fact, 99% of the body’s calcium is found in our bones and teeth. But there’s more to milk than calcium – with just one glass providing us with 8 essential nutrients, each playing important roles for our health.

1. Milk Matrix: nutrients working better together

The emerging concept of the ‘milk matrix’ looks at how the various nutrients and components present in milk work together in synergy. This research explores how the health effects of these nutrients, when consumed in dairy foods, may be more effective than the individual nutrients working in isolation.

The matrix of nutrients in milk contribute to the normal functioning of many processes in our bodies.

2. B vitamins: Keep your batteries charged

Milk is a natural source of vitamins B2, B5 and B12. These nutrients play roles in generating energy in our bodies, reducing feelings of tiredness and fatigue and the normal functioning of the immune system.

3. Iodine: A “no brainer”

Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function. Cognitive (brain) functions include memory, attention, perception, reasoning and the ability to retain information. Irish milk is considered an excellent source of iodine and milk is one of the main food sources of this mineral in the Irish diet.

4. Phosphorus: For all of us

Our skeletons act as the frame for our bodies, providing essential functions such as support, movement and protection. In addition to calcium and protein, phosphorus is a key nutrient essential for bone health, playing an important role in the normal growth, development and maintenance of bones and teeth.

5. Potassium: Cut the pressure

Potassium is an important mineral for the maintenance of normal blood pressure. With rapidly increasing rates of Irish adults having high blood pressure, this certainly is a nutrient worth noting.

6. Protein: Flex those muscles

We have over 600 muscles in our bodies playing vital roles for our movement and support; strong muscles are not just important for bodybuilders, but are essential for completing everyday tasks such as walking, taking the stairs or carrying our shopping! Protein is a nutrient involved in normal muscle growth and maintenance and we need to consume protein regularly throughout the day to supply our muscles. Milk is rich in protein and is a ‘complete’ protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) that our bodies require.

7. More than milk…

Don’t forget that dairy products such as yogurt and cheese are made from milk and, therefore, contain many of the same essential nutrients. The Department of Health’s Food Pyramid recommends 3 servings from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group each day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Between the ages of 9-18 years, 5 servings per day are recommended due to the increased calcium requirements at this life stage. Examples of one serving include a 200ml glass of milk, 125g yogurt and a 25g (matchbox size piece) cheddar cheese.

8. Variety and Versatility

Milk is nutritious, convenient, versatile, and most importantly tastes great. Here are some top tips to enjoy milk across the day:

  • Start your day with a bowl of warm milky porridge or overnight oats
  • Include milk in a fresh fruit smoothie
  • Treat yourself to a frothy café latte
  • Add milk to soups and sauces
  • Include milk in scrambled egg or omelettes