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MILK and dairy products are among the essential classes of food for several reasons.
Bone health: Milk and dairy products help in strengthening bone health. They provide calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein which are all essential for healthy bone growth and development.
Adequate consumption of milk and dairy from early childhood and throughout life can help to make the bones strong and protect them against diseases in later life.
Healthy teeth: The amounts of calcium and phosphorous in milk and dairy products are also beneficial for the development and maintenance of healthy teeth. Dentists recommend that milk is the only safe drink to have between meals (except for water) as it has been shown not to cause tooth decay even in conditions perfect for damaging teeth.
Blood pressure: Consuming recommended portions of dairy products each day, along with five portions of fruit and vegetables as part of a low salt diet can reduce high blood pressure in both adults and children.
Cardiovascular disease: Several studies link milk and dairy consumption with reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
Obesity: Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that people who consume milk and dairy foods are likely to be slimmer than those who do not. Experts say milk is an excellent choice of fluid as it not only re-hydrates the body, but provides a host of beneficial nutrients.
Hence, Nigerians have been advised to explore various ways to include milk in their diet as it remains one of the natural sources of vitamins and minerals, helping in enhancing growth and development of mental and physical performance while also serving as one of the cheapest sources of protein.
Public Health Physician, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Dr. Elochukwu Ukatu who spoke during the 2016 World Milk Day, organised by Friesland Campina WAMCO, makers of Peak Milk, said that it’s high time the Nigerian family and society begin to appreciate the role of milk in the diet.
On her part, Marketing Manager for Peak Milk, Mrs. Dolapo Otegbayi noted that over 40 percent of Nigerians are actually below the age of 18 which makes it very important for the country advocate for consumption of milk because it plays important role in family and societal development.
“We all grew up with milk but are very limited in our understanding of its versatility. If you ask the average Nigerian how milk is to be used, they would only tell you that it is to be used with their coffee and tea.