What Contributions Do Dairy Foods Make to Healthy Diets?

Published on: Jun 6 2017

With June underway, you may have seen more information about dairy than you’re used to in other months. June 1st is World Milk Day and June is National Dairy Month in the United States, which might make some of us wonder what’s the big deal with dairy?

Dairy is included in many global dietary recommendations due to its high nutrient content. This document from the National Dairy Council provides some statistics on the nutrient contributions of dairy foods to the American Diet: Science Summary Dairy and Nutrient Contributions Final 2 3 16 (click to access pdf). While not everyone chooses to (or can) consume dairy foods, it’s quick to see how these foods may help contribute to a healthy diet.

Toddler drinking beverage

Here are some highlights:

  • Dairy foods account for most of US vitamin D and calcium intake
    • 58% of the total dietary vitamin D
    • 51% of the total calcium
    • 16% of the total potassium
  • Milk is the leading source of 9 essential nutrients for children (protein, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D, and riboflavin)
  • It would take 2.2 servings of leafy greens to equal the calcium in one cup of milk


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