Milk and dairy foods are naturally rich sources of a wide range of essential nutrients and make a significant contribution to nutrient intakes and diet quality in Europe. The milk and dairy food group forms an important part of food-based dietary guidelines across Europe, and dairy is, with good reason, recognised as one of the components of a healthy dietary pattern. The specific recommendations vary between countries, but on average 2 to 3 servings of milk and dairy foods a day are recommended for adults; often more for children and adolescents (3 to 4 servings), and in some cases more for pregnant women and older people too.
Scientific evidence suggests that consumption of milk and dairy foods has a number of potential health benefits including for bone health, blood pressure, weight control, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. They also have a role in sports nutrition and in the helping to maintain muscle mass and function in older people. It is increasingly recognised that the unique combination of nutrients and bioactive factors, and how they interact with each other in the dairy matrix, combine to produce these positive effects on health.
Milk and dairy foods are versatile and offer their nutritional benefits in an enjoyable, convenient and affordable way.