What Health Benefits Does Dairy Offer Your Body?

Dairy foods are accessible, affordable, taste great, come in a number of varieties and provide a unique nutrient profile that can help make eating better easier and more enjoyable. Find out how dairy foods can help nourish people as they work to achieve greater health and wellness.

Healthy dairy foods on a table.

Dairy's Health Benefits

Dairy foods like low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese are fundamental to good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods to get essential nutrients is important to maintain healthy gut and immune function and optimize overall wellness.


Because of dairy foods’ nutritional package, it’s a one-stop shop to help people sustain their energy. Milk, cheese and yogurt provide a source of high-quality protein because they contain optimal quantities of all of the essential amino acids the body cannot make on its own. Protein helps curb hunger and can help you feel satisfied longer. For professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike, milk can help meet the three R’s of recovery – rebuild, refuel and rehydrate. A growing body of research supports the benefits of higher protein diets not only for athletic and fitness performance, but also for weight management and healthy aging.

Gut Health

From fermented foods to probiotics, dairy foods contribute to gut health. Fermented foods and beverages are ancient foods that have been around for thousands of years. They are made by microbial growth, which can enhance taste, texture and digestibility, and may help improve nutritional quality. Fermented foods containing live cultures can add beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract and contribute to a healthier microbiota, impacting digestion and gut barrier function. Fermented foods may or may not contain live cultures – it will depend on whether they survive after the fermentation process is over. For instance, yogurt and most cheeses are fermented foods. And did you know probiotics can be found in some dairy foods, like yogurt and kefir, and can help support gut health, too?

Woman eating cup of yogurt while sitting on staircase.


Eating dairy foods as part of an overall healthy diet is one way to get the nutrients you need for normal immune function. For instance, milk contains vitamins A and D, protein, selenium, zinc and B12, which are important to normal immune function. Cheese and yogurt also contain protein, selenium and B12, and yogurt is a good source of zinc, too.


Looking for a little help to sleep better? The science is well-established that, in general, protein is more satiating than the same amount of carbohydrate or fat. This can contribute to feeling more satisfied, which could possibly help you sleep a little better. Plus, protein can help with muscle repair while sleeping – especially those who do rigorous exercise.


A balanced diet with a variety of foods is important to get essential nutrients and milk is an affordable source of 13 essential nutrients, and dollar for dollar, three servings of milk only costs about 60 cents, making it one of the most economical sources of nutrition.

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