I was lucky enough hear one of the world’s biggest gurus on calcium, Professor Connie Weaver speak at a symposium hosted by Dairy Australia last month.
As our best and most available source of dietary calcium, you can’t really avoid talking dairy if you want to talk about dietary calcium.
So what did I learn and what can I share?
- Interestingly, while many of us avoid dairy to maintain our weight, lower blood cholesterol or reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, research actually shows regular dairy habit (milk, yoghurt, cheese) is linked to a reduced risk of
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- some cancers
- bone fracture
- When milk is a source of calcium in our children’s growing years they’re likely to have bigger, denser and stronger bones.
- People who are regular dairy consumers tend to have better diets overall.
- To absorb the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk you’d need to eat over 9 cups of kidney beans, 8 cups of spinach or 1 cup of almonds – phew, that’s hard work!
- Dairy can still be an option if you’ve lactose intolerance; Swiss, cheddar and other hard types of cheeses have minimal lactose and should be well managed by all except the most sensitive.
- Half of our adult bone mass is accrued during adolescence; take home here is the teen years are critical for strong bones in later life
When 8 out of 10 Australians don’t get their daily recommended serves of dairy, my worry is for our children who have so much to gain from a diet that gives them enough calcium to develop a hardy skeleton.
To spur on the dairy lover in you and your family here are a couple of lovely recipes to share.
Eat, enjoy and grow strong bones.
Roasted Parmesan wedges
- 300g potatoes well scrubbed
- 300g orange sweet potato, well scrubbed
- 1 tsp oil
- 40g finely grated Australian parmesan cheese
Cut each potato into 6-8 chunky wedges and place in a microwave steamer with 2 tablespoons water. Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, until par-cooked. Drain and stand for 10 minutes.
Toss potatoes in a bowl with oil and cheese until coated. Transfer to a baking paper lined tray and roast at 180°C for 30 minutes or until cooked and golden. Serve hot from the oven.
Beetroot lentil and feta salad
This salad is a particular favourite of mine and it always gets comments as it tastes as good as it looks.
- 450g can whole baby beetroot drained
- 400g can lentils, drained and rinsed
- 2 spring onions (shallots) finely sliced
- 50g wild rocket
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup crumbled fetta cheese
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Cut any larger beetroot in half and combine with lentils and spring onions in a bowl.
Add the rocket and drizzle with combined oil and vinegar. Gently toss to coat.
Transfer salad to a serving platter, scatter with feta and a grinding of pepper.
This salad makes a great addition to the Christmas table. Try roasting your own beets and add a handful of walnuts to make it even more special.
I attended the Dairy Australia Scientific Symposium as a guest of Dairy Australia and the above recipes are two of my personal favourites from Dairy Australia’s Healthy Recipes with dairy Foods