Did you know that it’s estimated that the average woman loses up to 10 per cent of her bone mass in the first five years after menopause?
I didn’t. But sometimes when I stand next to my grown up children I do get the distinct feeling that I might be shrinking in height, so I’m willing to believe it.
I’ve also found out that research suggests that osteoporosis affects a whopping 23% of women over 50 and about half of all women over the age of 60 years will experience at least one fracture due to osteoporosis.
I’ve always included dairy products in my diet in moderation, but probably not enough because I’ve only just found out that after the age of 50 the recommended daily dairy consumption (milk, cheese and yoghurt) is 4 serves a day.
According to The Australian Dietary Guidelines this is what individual serves look like.
- 40g or two slices of cheese
- 250ml or one glass of milk
- 200g or ¾ cup yoghurt
- 120g or 1/3 cup ricotta
I was surprised to learn that only 0.5% of women aged between 50-69 actually meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines dairy serve recommendations. (JC Doidge, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2013).
Yikes, I’d be in that statistic too. No wonder I’m probably shrinking 😉
Keeping fit and healthy after 50 is a big thing in these parts, at home and here on Lifestyle Fifty, so I decided to catch up with lovely Amber Beaumont (below), an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and ask her some searching questions about dairy and our health, the importance of dairy in our diets after 50, and how best to achieve the amounts required for our health without packing on the pounds.
Please can you explain a little more about the health benefits of dairy in our diets?
Dairy foods including milk, cheese and yoghurt are one of the five food groups recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines for good health and wellbeing. These foods contain a unique package of essential nutrients, which are important for blood and the immune system, eyesight, muscle and nerve function, healthy skin, energy, and growth and repair in all parts of the body.
They’re also a source of high quality protein which becomes more important as we age due to a decline in lean body mass which leads to a drop in metabolic rate, contributing to an expanding waistline and increased risk of chronic disease.
While it’s widely known that dairy is important for strong bones and teeth, there are other health benefits for consuming milk, yoghurt and cheese.
Eating amounts consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and the metabolic syndrome.
What kinds of dairy foods are beneficial to eat when you’re over the age of 50?
The science supporting the health benefits of dairy foods focuses on milk, cheese and yoghurt. This includes both full-fat and reduced-fat varieties; flavoured in the case of milk and yoghurt and long life or UHT milks. Custard also falls into this group.
These dairy foods should make up the bulk of your intake from day-to-day but there are a number of other delicious dairy foods we can also enjoy in moderation including butter, cream, sour cream and ice-cream which most people love and can be used to enhance every day meals and dishes.
Could you give us some tips for the healthy consumption of dairy foods?
Milk, cheese and yoghurt are convenient and tasty and there is a variety to suit all different tastes and preferences and meal occasions.
When it comes to milk, choose whichever you prefer. All types have the same health benefits. Add it to your breakfast cereal or porridge in the morning, make a fruit smoothie, stir it through soups, use it in tea and coffee.
When it comes to cheese – you can’t beat Australian. From aged cheddar in a sandwich to feta in a salad to ricotta spread on fruit toast and mozzarella on your homemade pizza.
Yoghurt is the perfect hunger buster. It also contains friendly bacteria for good gut health. Use it to top fruit salad, have a tub as a morning or afternoon snack or use it to make a creamy dip like tzatziki.
Fast Fact : Amber told me that although 80% of women over 50 believe dairy foods are essential for good health, research suggests that about half of all women over the age of 60 years will experience at least one fracture due to osteoporosis.
Bio: Amber Beaumont is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) at Dairy Australia and is passionate about educating older women on the health benefits of dairy foods to ensure they achieve their daily recommendations. Amber has over 10 years’ experience working in areas including public health, food industry, community and clinical nutrition. She is also an active member of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
The information in this post is intended to be used as a guide only. Please seek independent medical advice where appropriate, or advice from a qualified dietitian, before making changes to your dietary intake.
My question today Lifestylers, is … do you eat dairy foods and if so, do you eat enough?