Milk, Dairy Products, Nutrition and Health

Irena Rogelj

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Institute of Dairying, Groblje 3, SI-1230 Domžale, Slovenia

Article history:

Received February 1, 2000
Accepted May 3, 2000

Key words:

milk, dairy products, functional food, nutrition, health


Scientific progress in nutrition, medical and food sciences is having an increasingly profound impact on consumer's approach to nutrition. There is a growing awareness that many chronic diseases are caused by unbalanced diet. In addition to disease prevention, the role of food as an agent for improving health has been proposed and a new class of food, so called functional food, has come into being. This term is used to indicate a food that contains some health-promoting components and not only traditional nutrients. From this point of view we could argue that milk and many dairy products belong to the family of functional food replete with bioactive peptides, probiotic bacteria, antioxidants, highly absorbable calcium, conjugated linoleic acid and other biologically active components. Although evaluation of the benefits or risks of foods normally does not entail the same extensive examination as that required of drugs, this does not negate the need for sound scientific information before making conclusions and recommendations to the consumers. This paper reviews and discusses some of the latest findings regarding the role of milk and dairy products in nutrition and health.

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