The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

How can dairy address nutritional needs for the elderly?

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Dairy products are a source of good-quality protein, important vitamins (B2, B12) and minerals (calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus). Milk and dairy intake is an effective, practical and affordable way to help maintain muscle mass and strength in the healthy elderly and support recovery in frail or malnourished elderly people.

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Dairy products are a source of good-quality protein and many important vitamins and minerals.

  • Calcium and protein as found in dairy products help to maintain healthy muscle and bone mass. Strong, healthy muscles and bones can help to preserve vitality and independence in the elderly.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps to maintain eyesight.
  • Iodine is important for normal cognitive function.
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
  • Potassium can help to maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Phosphorus supports the maintenance of teeth.

Dairy products are both affordable and versatile sources of all these nutrients and can be included in various meals and snacks.

Many dairy products do not require cooking and their soft texture can make them a convenient, easy-to-eat source of protein for elderly people. A growing body of evidence shows that the intake of milk-based proteins is effective in stimulating muscle growth and repair, and slowing muscle breakdown. Consuming milk and dairy may therefore be an effective, practical and affordable way to help maintain muscle mass and strength in the healthy elderly and support recovery in the frail or malnourished elderly.

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