The benefits of dairy in old age

The benefits of dairy in old age

Dr Monique Piderit talks about the benefit of consuming dairy as you age. 

Senior man drinking a glass of milk
Senior man drinking a glass of milk /iStock

Milk is often considered a requirement in the development of children, however, when it comes to adults, it is not usually viewed as a necessity. 

However, Dr Monique Piderit, a dietitian, says dairy is equally as important as people age. 

"Just like a good retirement plan requires financial thought and planning, so too should we have a plan of action as we focus on our long-term health and nutrition," says Dr Monique Piderit . 

"This is because, as we age, a natural breakdown in the micro-architecture of the bones increases the risk of fragile bones and fractures, as well as a loss of muscle."

Dr Piderit says dairy can be consumed from "products like milk, maas, yoghurt, and cheese". 

She adds that dairy helps "keep bones strong and muscle mass in tip-top shape for our beloved golden oldies".

Dairy is one of the top sources of calcium. 

"Calcium is a mineral that helps maintain the structural integrity of our bones to prevent bone loss linked to the age-related condition called osteoporosis," says Dr Piderit. 

She adds: "As we get older, our calcium needs increase.

"Dairy products are good sources of bone-building calcium and in an easy-to-absorb and cost-effective form. This is why the food-based dietary guidelines for the elderly recommend that South Africans consume dairy foods as part of a healthy and balanced diet."

READ: Why you may feel bloated or get diarrhoea after consuming milk

Dr Piderit says another benefit of dairy is "powered up protein". 

"Another health concern as the years tick by is sarcopenia – a natural age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. The good news is that eating enough protein can help maintain mobility, independence and overall quality of life for our seniors," says Dr Piderit. 

"Protein is a muscle fuel that provides the building blocks for muscle growth, helping to keep sarcopenia at bay. Dairy products are a source of good quality protein. But just eating protein is not enough: regular movement and activity for good bone health and muscle maintenance is vital too.

"Between bone-building calcium and the muscle-maintenance potential of protein, it’s clear that dairy offers up a double-win for bone health and prevention of muscle loss as the years pass by."

READ: Three natural ways to increase your breast milk production

Dr. Piderit says "a glass or two of milk a day can make all the difference".

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