As  South Africa, grapples with easing lockdowns and rebuilding the economy, COVID-19 remains part of everyday life. Maintaining our health and supporting our immune systems has probably never been so important for our families.

This year, on the 20th anniversary of World Milk Day. Rediscover Dairy is celebrating all that dairy has to offer into our own homes: enjoyment, versatility, affordable access to nutrients and nostalgia.

Related: What to eat to support your immune system

Dairy is an affordable source of nutrients

When it comes to food and getting the most ‘bang for your buck’, you have to focus on nutrient density.

How can you get healthful nutrition that strengthens your family’s immune systems on a tighter budget?

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We’ve always known that dairy is not just good for us but also affordable. Dairy is unique in its offering of high-quality protein, as well as an array of essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium. Dairy, on its own or as an ingredient, is a well loved comfort food for the whole family!

Related: How to up your child’s dairy intake

Dairy can help you cut down on unhealthy comfort eating

Lockdown takes its toll on our emotional well-being and overall mental health. It’s not surprising that many South Africans are comfort eating.

Comfort eating is associated with eating more refined carbohydrates, especially sugar. These increase the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin, but they provide a lot of energy with little nutritional value and can contribute to unwanted weight gain.

A better option is to boost serotonin levels by including foods with an amino acid called tryptophan to your diet.

Milk and dairy products are rich sources of tryptophan, which the body uses to produce serotonin. Tryptophan also produces melatonin, which helps to promote sleep and relaxation.  A glass of warm milk at night can contribute to your serotonin and melatonin levels and help you to feel less depressed and stressed.

Related: Anxiety, overeating, lack of exercise affecting South Africans -IPSOS Poll

Dairy is good for you

Dairy is a vital source of high-quality protein, it’s also packed with vitamins such as A, and B12, as well as calcium, potassium, and zinc.  It’s this range of essential micro-nutrients that ensures fantastic nutritional value for money that can help low-income South African households overcome mild forms of malnutrition that make us more vulnerable to diseases.  Fermented dairy products such as maas, yoghurt and many kinds of cheese are rich in probiotics that improve the health of our digestive systems which play a pivotal role in immune response.  If you are planning to cut down on your food budget in the coming months,  prioritisenutrient-dense foods such as vegetables and fruit, dairy and whole-grains so that your family’s diet is focused on health and wellness.

 

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.