Dairy foods are an excellent source of several essential nutrients that work together to help protect bones, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin D. By enjoying three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese every day as part of an overall healthy diet, families, especially children and adolescents in their peak bone-building years, can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
The best way to get the calcium you need is by eating and drinking foods that are calcium-rich. Milk and many other dairy foods are excellent sources of calcium; they offer a highly absorbable source of calcium per serving. Dark green, leafy vegetables also contain calcium, though it is not as readily absorbed as calcium from dairy foods. In a recent study, researchers found that women who got their calcium from food had healthier bones and higher bone densities than women whose calcium came mainly from supplemental tablets.