Most of us know how some nutrients in dairy products support our bones, thanks to the calcium in milk, cheese and yogurts. But there’s much more to milk nutrition, so don’t be fooled that calcium is the only thing dairy products supply. They also provide another bone-friendly nutrient called phosphorus. Plus, milk and yogurt contain iodine, which is vital for cognitive function – the mental activities that affect our attention, memory and language, and our ability to think, make decisions and solve problems. And if that wasn’t enough, milk and yogurt also supply potassium, a mineral that helps to keep our blood pressure normal. Find out more about the minerals in dairy products.
CALCIUM – THE BONE-FRIENDLY NUTRIENT
It’s the nutrient many of us associate with dairy and for good reason. In the UK, the calcium in milk, cheese and yogurt provide more than a third of the calcium in our diets and that’s good news for our bones and teeth. Keeping our bones healthy is especially important because more than 3 million people in the UK have poor bones health and are affected by conditions such as osteoporosis – a condition that weakens bones making them more likely to break. But while calcium is supports the health of our bones, it has other important functions you might not be aware of.
Did you know?
Three portions of dairy products provide around 85% of the calcium you need each day.
PHOSPHORUS – THE OTHER BONE-FRIENDLY NUTRIENT
It’s another nutrient that’s vital for bones and teeth. In fact, more than three quarters of the phosphorus in our body is in the skeleton. That’s why it’s important to make sure we get enough. Dairy is a winner for boosting intakes as milk, cheese and yogurt all provide this essential nutrient.
Did you know?
Three portions of dairy products provide around ¾ of the phosphorus you need each day.
IODINE – THE BRAIN-FRIENDLY NUTRIENT
It’s not a nutrient we hear much about, but iodine is essential for all the mental activities that affect our attention, memory and language, as well as our ability to think, make decisions and solve problems – it’s what experts call our cognitive function. However, one in five teenagers and 12% of working age adults have very low intakes of iodine so are at risk of becoming deficient in this nutrient. Milk and yogurt are particularly rich in iodine so great choices for helping us get enough. Other sources of iodine include fish, seafood, seaweed, eggs and iodised salt. It can be found in smaller amounts in some vegetables, nuts and bread.
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk = 41% of daily needs
- 150g pot low-fat fruit yogurt = 48% of daily needs
POTASSIUM – THE BLOOD PRESSURE FRIENDLY NUTRIENT
For healthy blood pressure, many of know we should cut down on salt. But that’s only one part of the story. Potassium also helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Lots of people in the UK have very low intakes of potassium, though. Good news then that milk and yogurt provide this nutrient.
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk = 16% of daily needs
- 150g pot low-fat fruit yogurt = 15% of daily needs
Last reviewed: 03/2021
Next review due: 03/2023