Happy National Dairy Month! Did you know that this nationwide celebration began in 1937? Initially started as National Milk Month, June became a time to recognize one of the country’s most fundamental foods. Milk and other dairy products are best known for their calcium content; however every cup of milk also contains essential nutrients that can assist in weight loss, reducing blood pressure, and preventing osteoporosis.
When it comes to dairy products, buying local is key to nutrition. Fresh milk, which is guaranteed at all Stewart’s Shops, is able to bypass the ultra-pasteurization process; a procedure which allows milk to remain shelf-stable for up to six months. Stewart’s requires that all milk be pasteurized for safety; however, the extremely high heat of the ultra-pasteurization process is not necessary, because every carton of milk is sold within days of leaving local farms!
Extreme processing temperatures can break down many of the beneficial nutrients in dairy products. Therefore, Stewart’s milk has more thiamin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin E than milk with a longer shelf life. Thiamin, as well as Vitamin B12, helps the body convert food into energy; a deficiency of either vitamin can make weight loss more difficult. In the absence of Vitamin D, calcium from milk will not be absorbed properly and the body becomes susceptible to bone loss. And the final nutrient, Vitamin E, is a powerful antioxidant needed to keep the immune system strong, improve skin and prevent signs of aging.
Although prefix for “ultra-” pasteurization gives the connotation that it is in some way better, in fact the opposite is true when it comes to value and nutrition. The best choice always comes from local, minimally processed dairy products. And with a Stewart’s Shop available in every neighborhood, you are never far from farm-fresh milk!
The USDA recommendation for dairy foods is three cups per day. Using Stewart’s milk can help you get the best value from every delicious serving.
-Christine Hebert MS, RD, CDN
About Christine: Christine Hebert is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition from The Sage Colleges in Troy.