(BPT) - When you sip a wholesome smoothie or savor a slice of cheesy pizza, do you ever wonder who's behind your favorite dairy foods?
More than 97 percent of dairy farms in the United States are family-owned and operated - and these families are as passionate about crafting simple, nutritious dairy products as you are about enjoying them. From dairy farmers to chefs, and everyone in between, the hardworking people who put delicious dairy foods on your table all share one undeniable characteristic: devotion.
Other than the great taste and rich farming tradition behind dairy products, here are five more reasons to make dairy a regular part of your diet:
*Dairy is a local business. When you buy cheese, yogurt or milk, you're supporting hard-working dairy farm families near you, which helps create jobs. The dairy products you're feeding your family probably came from another hard-working family near you. And dairy farms are the ultimate local businesses: Most milk is made less than a two-hour drive from where it's sold.
*It's natural: Real milk, cheese and butter taste the most natural because, well, they are the most natural. So, when you add a splash of milk to your morning coffee or top a baked potato with butter and sour cream, you're keeping it real - and fresh.
*Dairy is simple and affordable. At a time when eating healthy seems to get more and more complicated - and expensive - dairy remains simple and affordable. Why? A glass of milk is the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins.
*It's good at any age.Dairy is beneficial for all ages, because it is a top food source for calcium, potassium and vitamin D - nutrients that many Americans, including children, are most lacking in their diets. And dairy products are safe to consume. 'The bottom line is milk and other dairy foods are safe and nutritious foods you can recommend to others and enjoy with confidence,' confirms Dr. Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN, chief science officer at National Dairy Council.
*Dairy packs a protein punch. Dairy is an important and widely available source of protein, which helps rebuild and repair muscle. If you took it out of your diet, you'd need to eat up to 30 percent more plant proteins to match the quality of the protein that's in dairy.
Learn more about the people behind your favorite dairy foods and the benefits of eating dairy at UndeniablyDairy.org/devoted.