London: Children who consume plenty of dairy foods such as milk and cheese are likely to live longer, say researchers. Researchers in Bristol and Queensland tracked 4,374 UK children from a 1930s till 65 years and found that those who had high dairy and calcium intakes as children were protected against stroke and other causes of death.
The study showed that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy, predominantly from milk, cut death risk by a quarter.
The researchers suggest that three servings of dairy foods - for instance, 200ml glass of milk, a pot of yogurt and a small piece of cheese can provide all the calcium most people need each day.
Dairy products can also influence heart and circulation health through a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
In adults, high circulating levels of IGF-1 are linked with lower heart failure and heart disease deaths risk.
"This is an interesting study, but we need to take a further look to really assess the benefits of milk in reducing the chances of dying from stroke,” BBC News quoted Joanne Murphy of The Stroke Association as saying.
"In the meantime, we advise parents to opt for a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat and salt for the overall health of their children," she added.
"However, older children and adults should consume low-fat dairy products such as semi-skimmed, one percent or skimmed milk and low-fat yogurts, which will help keep saturated fat intake low to help protect the heart,” said June Davison, cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation.
The study appears in journal Heart.