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The unique benefits of dairy:A nutritional perspective...

Milk is a widely consumed beverage that is essential to the diet of several million of people worldwide because it provides important macro and micronutrients. It is recognised being useful during childhood and adolescence because of its composition however its high saturated fat proportion raises issues of potential detrimental effects namely on cardiovascular system.

Here is an in-depth look at why dairy remains an important part of a balanced diet

High quality protein- Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt are excellent sources of high quality protein. Dairy proteins ( casein and whey) are complete proteins meaning they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs. This makes dairy useful in muscle repair and growth in active kids and athletes. It is also beneficial during weight loss due to the high satiety effect of protein food sources.

Gut health- Fermented dairy products like yogurt, kefir, some cheeses contain probiotics which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Probiotics can help balance gut bacteria, improve digestion and support immune health.

Bone health- The present evidence suggest a positive effect of dairy on bone health in childhood and adolescent but with limited evidence of bone health in adulthood and on risk of bone fractures. It is also important to get calcium from other sources like greens, nuts, tofu, sardines.

Dairy products offer a unique taste and texture that can enhance the culinary experience. From creamy cheeses to rich yogurts and the versatility of milk in cooking and baking, dairy products can add flavor and satisfaction to a wide range of dishes.

Addressing common concerns

  1. Lactose intolerance- For individuals with lactose intolerance, lactose-free dairy products are available that provide the same nutritional benefits without causing digestive issues. Additionally, many people with lactose intolerance can still consume fermented dairy products like yogurt and hard cheeses with minimal discomfort.


Homemade paneer with buffalo milk

2 litres whole milk

1 lemon juiced

1 tsp fine salt

Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally. This should take about 30 mins.

Once it begins to bubble and rise up the sides of the pan, add 2 tbsp lemon juice and the salt – the milk will quickly separate. Add another 1 tbsp lemon juice, or enough to turn the milk into curds and liquid whey. Simmer for 1 min before turning off the heat. The amount of lemon juice needed will depend on the milk’s freshness.

Line a sieve with a double layer of muslin and set over a bowl. Pour the cheese mixture into the sieve and leave for about 10 mins to allow the whey to drain through the cloth. Draw the muslin around the paneer and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.

Transfer the cloth-wrapped cheese to a tray and pat it out into a 2cm-thick rectangle. Cover it with a tray and a couple of heavy tins and transfer to the fridge for at least 2-3 hrs. Unwrap the paneer – if you're not using it straight away, submerge it in cold water and keep it in the fridge. Will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

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