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Dairy’s Functional Health Benefits

Dairy foods benefit health beyond the energy and nutrients they provide.


Dairy foods benefit health beyond the energy and nutrients they provide. Some examples of these functional health benefits may include improved gut health, reduced inflammation and positive impacts on chronic disease risk, immunity, sleep and brain health.


Dairy MatrixThe Dairy Food Matrix

Nutrients, bioactives and other compounds in dairy foods work together uniquely to impact digestion, absorption and physiological functions. This dairy food matrix helps explain why dairy foods have health benefits beyond their isolated nutrients.1



Gut HealthGut Health

MicrobiomeThe microbiome refers to the unique collection of microorganisms or microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi) that live in different parts of the body. Every person has trillions of microbes throughout the body, with most of them living in the intestines.






Disease Prevention


Disease Prevention


Brain HealthBrain Health







Dairy foods work in synergy with vegetables, fruits and whole grains to make plant-forward plates even better by adding nutrients like high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin B12 along with flavor, texture and satisfaction.

Research Summaries + Blogs

Gut Health and Overall Health

Maria Frye, RDN, explains how to reduce the risk for chronic diseases & inflammation in the body.

Learn more

Probiotics + Fermented Foods For Health

Kristal Mylander, RDN, explains the nutrition science behind these foods & their impact on health.

Learn more

What Supports a Healthy Immune System?

Kristal Mylander, RDN, elaborates on how nutrition plays a role in supporting immunity.

Learn more



1. Weaver CM. Dairy matrix: is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? Nutr Rev. 2021;79(suppl_ 2):4–15, DOI:10.1093/nutrit/nuab081

2. Dimidi E, Cox SR, Rossi M, Whelan K. Fermented foods: definitions and characteristics, impact on the gut microbiota and effects on gastrointestinal health and disease. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1806. DOI:10.3390/nu11081806

3. Leeuwendaal NK, Stanton C, O’Toole PW, Beresford TP. Fermented Foods, Health and the Gut Microbiome. Nutrients. 2022;14(7):1527. DOI:10.3390/nu14071527

4. Ulven SM, Holven KB, Gil A, Rangel-Huerta OD. Milk and Dairy Product Consumption and Inflammatory Biomarkers: An Updated Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. May 1 2019;10(suppl_2):S239-S250. DOI:10.1093/advances/nmy072

5. Feng X, Zhao Y, Liu J, et al. Consumption of dairy products and the risk of overweight or obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus: A dose-response meta-analysis and systematic review of cohort studies. Adv Nutr. 2022;13(6):2165-2179. DOI: 10.1093/advances/nmac096

6. Dehghan M, Mente A, Rangarajan S, et al. Association of dairy intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 21 countries from 5 continents(PURE): a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2018;392(10161):2288-2297. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31812-9

7. Deng C, Lu Q, Gong B, et al. Stroke and food groups: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Public Health Nutr. 2018;21(4):766-776. DOI:10.1017/s1368980017003093

8. Calder PC. Optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral infections. Nutrients. 2020;12(4). DOI: 10.3390/nu12041181

9. Komada Y, Okajima I, Kuwata T. The effects of milk and dairy products on sleep: a systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(24):9440. DOI:10.3390/ijerph17249440

10. Yu L, Han X, Cen S, et al. Beneficial effect of GABA-rich fermented milk on insomnia involving regulation of gut microbiota. Microbiol Res. 2020;233:126409. DOI:10.1016/j.micres.2020.126409

11. Choi IY, Taylor MK, Lee P, et al. Milk intake enhances cerebral antioxidant (glutathione) concentration in older adults: A randomized controlled intervention study. Front Nutr. 2022;9:811650. DOI:10.3389/fnut.2022.811650

12. Schwarzenberg SJ, Georgieff MK, Committee on Nutrition. Advocacy for improving nutrition in the first 1000 days to support childhood development and adult health. Pediatrics. 2018;141(2):e20173716. DOI:10.1542/peds.2017-3716 

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