Dairy Foods and Health: A Tour of the Systems of the Body

By Sarah Ryan, M.S., RDN, LD on 07/20/2018

Tags: Health and Wellness, Nutrition

Dairy foods are essential to an overall healthy diet and a component in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-20 (DGA). With many Americas not meeting DGA recommendations, health professionals become the bridge between the science-based recommendations offered by the DGA and the public. Educating health professionals on the natural goodness of dairy and the science behind its nutritional benefits is a key piece to our work at Dairy MAX , and can have a big impact on their patients’ health.

Whole Body Benefits

In March, Dairy MAX hosted the members of the Hispanic Medical Association of Houston (HAMAH), an organization representing more than 50  physicians ranging in specialties and backgrounds. Dairy MAX recognizes the health disparities affecting the Hispanic community and aims to arm health professionals with the resources they need to address patient concerns. On average, Hispanic Americans consume less dairy than the recommendation though they are disproportionately affected by conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Dairy MAX is proud of the partnership with HAMAH as they remain advocates for patient health in the Greater Houston area.

In a presentation led by Moises Torres-Gonzalez, PhD, director of nutrition research for the National Dairy Council, attendees learned how to translate the science behind dairy’s role in the diet for their patients through a tour of the body. Our physician partners learned a lot that evening and made a commitment to continue to share the science.

“Dairy helps reduce cholesterol and control diabetes in adults. As a pediatrician, I will continue to counsel regarding the importance of dairy in children’s diet and will encourage three servings of dairy each day,” said Dr. Kyralessa Ramirez.

“I enjoyed learning about the positive impact of milk intake and its impact on hypertension and diabetes for my patients,” said Dr. Daniel G. Corredor, an endocrinologist.

Sound Science

Dairy foods remain the recommendation due to a myriad of health benefits including lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. In fact, a new study indicates how the DASH diet has proven benefits for hypertension even with the inclusion of whole fat milk, cheese and yogurts. The bottom line is that dairy foods have proven benefits and reducing your patients' risk of certain diseases is an exciting component. And don’t let lactose intolerance be a barrier for recommending dairy—your patients can still eat the dairy foods they love with no gastrointestinal discomfort. Here are five things to share with patients dealing with lactose intolerance, plus a Spanish FAQ.

We appreciate HAMAH’s commitment to the health of Houstonians. For more nutrition downloads to share with your patients, visit www.DairyMAX.org