Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, are the best source of calcium for strong bones and teeth, and important for the nervous system. They also provide some protein for growth and repair, vitamin B12, and vitamin A for healthy eyes.
They are particularly valuable foods for young children, who need full-fat versions at least up to age 2. Dairy foods are also especially important for adolescent girls to prevent the development of osteoporosis later in life, and for women throughout life generally.
To limit fat intake, wherever possible adults should choose lower-fat dairy foods, such as semi-skimmed milk and low-fat yogurt.
What is a "portion" of dairy food?
Some examples are:
- 1 medium-sized glass (200 ml / 7 fl oz) milk
- 1 matchbox-sized piece (40 g /1 1⁄2 oz) Cheddar cheese
- 1 small serving of yogurt 125 g (4 1⁄2 oz) cottage cheese