Dairy products are truly versatile and take a variety of forms—from foods you can bite into or eat with a spoon and beverages you can sip or slurp. Find out all the reasons to love dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and whey or maybe even find a new favorite like cream, butter, ice cream and kefir.
Millions of people around the world rely on a variety of dairy products and foods for a delicious, nutritious way to balance their diet. Whether you rely on milk or yogurt for your overnight oats or cheese on your taco, there are countless ways to enjoy dairy items in your everyday life.
What Are Dairy Products?
Dairy products are derived from milk, which has been an important source of nutrition for people for thousands of years. These include products made from milk, such as cheese, yogurt, kefir, ice cream and butter. Cow’s milk can be found around the world, as well as milk from other mammals like sheep and goats, among others.
Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt each contain nutrients your body needs. For example, all three contain protein, calcium, and vitamin B12, which help with rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue, building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, and keeping your nervous system healthy, respectively. In addition, the protein, zinc, selenium and vitamins A and D found in every cup of milk help support a healthy immune system.
Milk consists of water, carbohydrate (in the form of lactose, a type of natural sugar), fat (unless non-fat), vitamins, minerals and protein.
Dairy Recommended Daily Intake
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, or DGA, recommends eating dairy foods every day because of their association with health promotion and disease prevention. The DGA recommends three eating patterns: the Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian and Healthy Mediterranean. The first two include three low-fat or fat-free dairy servings per day while the Healthy Mediterranean includes two to two and a half servings for adults and three servings for those ages 9 to 18.
Types of Dairy Products
There are a wide range of dairy products, including hundreds of types of cheese, yogurt and milk and milk products. Check the dairy products list below and read more about what all your favorite dairy products have to offer.