Milk is often a staple in a child’s diet. After all, what drink goes better with a classic PB&J or a homemade batch of cookies? But milk is not just for kids. Adults who may have gotten indifferent about daily milk consumption should reconsider adding milk to their diets—many nutrients found in milk are good for bone health, memory, weight management, and so much more!
As people get older, milk drinking starts to fall off of the radar. In fact, about 90% of the U.S. population does not meet dairy recommendations, with only 20% of adults drinking any milk in a given day. The dietary guidelines for Americans suggest that, for milk daily intake, most adults include three servings of dairy every day, and this becomes even more important as people age, due to the natural changes that occur in the body.
The benefits of milk are plenty. The nutrients in milk can offer a slew of anti-aging benefits for the 50-plus group. Milk contains 13 essential nutrients. One serving of Organic Valley milk provides calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D, and B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, protein, zinc, selenium, iodine, and potassium. Wow!
If you are an older adult and you have been skipping the natural goodness that is milk in your diet, here are some reasons why you should reconsider.
May Help Manage Weight
An increasing number of older adults have excess body weight, and therefore preventing additional weight gain during the latter part of life is essential to living a healthy life. As you think about weight management you may want to consider milk. One reason, the high levels of protein in milk can keep you feeling fuller longer. The riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid naturally found in milk help convert food to fuel; making good use of the food you eat.
Some studies show that increasing low-fat milk consumption may help achieve weight loss goals among postmenopausal women. And among both middle-aged men and women, consumption of dairy products, dairy protein, and calcium is associated with a more favorable body composition, highlighting how drinking milk can support a healthy weight.
Bone and Muscle Health
Milk is known for being rich in bone-health supporting nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium where it’s needed, like bones and teeth. Along with these bone-building superstars, milk also contains protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and other nutrients that support bone health.
An estimated 10 million Americans over 50 years of age suffer from osteoporosis, or low bone mass and quality. Having osteoporosis puts people at greater risk for experiencing bone fractures.
The simple act of drinking milk is linked to better bone mineral density and fewer fractures vs. those who do not drink milk among certain populations. Therefore, including milk in an adult diet can be one of the most important things to do when bone health is a concern.
As people get older, the weakening of muscle strength and quality, also known as sarcopenia, is said to be the number one cause of early death for the elderly. Nutrients found in milk, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and protein affect muscle mass and quality, making dairy products, like milk, an ideal addition to a healthy diet.
Fill Nutrient Gaps
Older adults tend to undereat certain nutrients, including protein and vitamin B12. Unfortunately, inadequate intake of these key nutrients can lead to unsavory outcomes, like frailty and weakness. Specifically in the case of protein, consuming enough of this macro is important to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs naturally with age.
Milk contains protein and vitamin B12, helping prevent nutritional gaps in a simple and accessible way.
Milk and Skin Health
Vitamin A found in animal food supports healthy skin along with healthy vision. Milk also contains retinol and vitamin D, powerful anti-aging nutrients. Plus, proteins in milk help support elasticity and lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that may promote collagen production. Milk anti-aging benefits can be, in part, due to this topical benefit.
Interestingly, though evidence of its effectiveness is sparse, people have been using milk in their beauty regimens for centuries, including bathing in milk!
May Help Support Better Memory Function
Forgetfulness can become common as people age. While many are aware of the beneficial effects foods like walnuts and green veggies can have on brain function, less known is that data shows that adults with higher intakes of milk and milk products score significantly higher on memory and other brain function tests than those who drank little to no milk. Milk drinkers are also five times less likely to “fail” the test, compared to non-milk drinkers, according to the International Dairy Journal.
Enjoy Milk For Healthy Aging Benefits
Along with eating a variety of fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains, and other good-for-you foods, drinking milk can help people age in a healthy way. From supporting bone health to providing memory support, drinking milk is an easy and impactful thing older adults can do.
When including milk in your diet, chose Organic Valley products like Organic Valley Grassmilk and Organic Valley Lowfat 1% Milk. Organic Valley dairy products are never produced with antibiotics, artificial hormones, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs.
Plus, Organic Valley farmers take pride in the care of the cows that call their farms home. Caring for animals is central to what Organic Valley farmers do. From ensuring they get all the fresh pasture they want and need to monitoring animal health with one-on-one attention, the family farms work hand in hand with nature to create a good life for all animals on the farm.
So, even if there are no little ones in your home, organic milk belongs in your refrigerator. Drinking milk as an adult is something that can benefit almost all older adults. Crack open a carton of fresh milk and pour yourself a glass. Your body will thank you for it.
Lauren Manaker, MS RDN LD CLEC, is an award-winning registered dietitian and book author. After spending more than 15 years working in health care and industry, she started a consulting business focusing on reproductive, pediatric, and women’s health. Manaker resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying an outdoor oyster roast in the cooler months, doing anything on the water in the warmer months, and practicing yoga year-round.