Dairy Foods, Calcium and
Calcium is an important nutrient for bone and dental health, with dairy foods being
the major source of dietary calcium in Australia.
Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt
and cheese are good sources of calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B
phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.
In terms of cancer risk, dairy foods and calcium have shown both protective and
Overall the proven health benefits of dairy foods outweigh the
The evidence suggests that dairy foods and calcium have a
role in the
prevention of colorectal cancer.
There appears to be
no significant association
between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of breast or ovarian cancer.
There is some evidence to suggest that a high consumption of dairy foods
the risk of prostate cancer, but this is not conclusive. However this is not the case
for calcium supplementation.
Calcium supplementation may protect against prostate and colorectal cancer.
However there is still insufficient evidence to recommend the general use of calcium
supplements for cancer prevention.
Dairy foods should be encouraged as part of a varied and nutritious diet as they are
essential to maintain good bone and dental health. The Cancer Council supports the
Australian Dietary Guidelines, which encourage people to eat at least three serves of
dairy foods (milk, cheese and yoghurt) each day.
The Cancer Council encourages
people to choose reduced fat varieties of dairy foods where appropriate.
Dairy foods provide the richest source of dietary calcium.
Dairy foods contain a high
calcium content per serve and this calcium is well absorbed by the body.
from non-dairy sources is less concentrated, and therefore more of the food needs
to be consumed to meet recommended levels.
Dairy foods also provide
significant amounts of other nutrients including protein, vitamin A, vitamin B
magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.
In addition, dairy products
tetradecanoic acid which may have anti-cancer properties.