Washington: Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the American diet, supplying nearly half of all of the much-needed vitamin, a new research says.
Using the latest national data on what more than 16,000 Americans aged two and older eat, researchers investigated the contribution of each food group to the total vitamin D intake.
No other food item came close to the vitamin D contribution of milk. In fact, for kids aged two to 18, milk provided nearly two-thirds of all vitamin D in the diet.
"There are few true replacements for the nutrient package you find in one glass of fat free or low fat milk," said Keith Ayoob, registered dietitian and paediatric nutrition expert.
"Without milk in the diet, it`s hard to meet a number of nutrient needs - most notably vitamin D," he added.
Well known for its role in keeping bones strong, vitamin D is now being hailed for so much more.
Emerging evidence suggests vitamin D may also help protect against diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers. It also supports a healthy immune system.
Despite a potential upside of boosting vitamin D levels, Americans of all ages still fall short of their vitamin D needs and this deficiency may put their health at risk.
Experts recommend 400 IU of vitamin D each day - the amount in four glasses of fat free or low fat milk, a release of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) said.
It`s one more reason to grab another glass of milk, according to new research presented at the Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, California.
The findings were published in FASEB Journal .