More than calcium

Most of you know dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium, important for building and maintaining strong bones. But calcium is just one benefit of eating dairy foods.

Dairy foods provide a unique package of more than ten essential nutrients important for healthy blood, nervous and immune systems, eyesight, muscle and nerve function, healthy skin, energy levels and growth and repair in all parts of the body.

Vitamin A
Essential for healthy eye sight
Important for growth (particularly in children)
Vitamin B12
Helps to keep blood healthy
Assists in the formation of nerve cells
Helps release energy from food
Helps cells to function properly
Essential for strong bones and teeth
Needed for normal muscle and nerve functioning, and may assist in controlling blood pressure
Assists with blood pressure control
Important for nerve impulse transmission
Important component in bone structure
Essential for energy transfer around the body
Aids wound healing
Essential for normal growth and development in bones, the brain and many other parts of the body
Forms an important part of the mineral structure in bones and teeth
Works with B vitamins to release energy from food
Provides energy for the body
Needed for growth and development as well as repair to damaged body tissues
Forms part of many enzymes and blood components, and is essential for maintaining muscles

Since dairy foods add a wide range of nutrients to your diet, eliminating them means you might miss out on more than just calcium. Diets restricting dairy foods are not generally suitable for growing children and adolescents as they provide an importance source of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. If you suspect a milk allergy in your child, seek confirmation from your medical practitioner. If allergies are diagnosed by a doctor and dairy foods must be avoided, an Accredited Practising Dietitian can advise you on alternative sources of calcium. Find out more in our Food Allergies fact sheet.

If you choose to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and avoid dairy foods, make sure you include adequate amounts of calcium-fortified alternatives and seek advice from your health professional on meeting your calcium needs.