Most athletes will eat a diet rich in protein, carbohydrates and some fats. Most source these nutrients in the form of meats, fish, pasta, rice, potato and oils. Unfortunately, dairy products have received a lot of flack in the fitness industry, and I believe it is slightly unfair. Of course, you have to conscious of when you are eating dairy foods, but they do certainly posses some great qualities! Here are some of them!

Skimmed Milk is a great quality source of nutrients for any athlete. This is because Milk has a unique protein formation which has a ratio of 8:2 Casein. Casein is a great slow digesting protein, which gives a constant trickle of amino acids to the muscles. Milk is also loaded with essential BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) which allow for greater muscular recovery and growth. To add to this, Milk is one of the richest sources of Calcium which is essential for bone health. Calcium is also known to increase your muscles ability to contract effectively which means you are able to get the most out of each and every repetition. This doesn’t mean you should drink milk by the gallon, but just ½ a glass a day could offer all sorts of benefits, whilst limiting the negatives associated with dairy products.

Second in line is low fat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein which is obviously beneficial from a muscular recovery and growth point of view. However, Cottage cheese also contains fatty acids in abundance, which is fantastic. This is because quality fatty acids promote fat loss, as they decrease the rate at which the body is able to assimilate calories therefore it makes better use of them. Fatty acids are also essential for joint health, especially when lifting heavy weights.

Finally on the list is low fat natural yoghurt. Again this provides a very rich source of proteins which are indeed of great benefit to muscle growth and recovery. However natural yoghurt also provides, like Cottage cheese, high amounts of quality fats which the benefits of have been outlined above.

To add to this, these top quality dairy products are also loaded with essential vitamins for your health and general well being as well as your muscular development. Vitamins found in these dairy products aid fat loss as well as help you maintain your energy levels.

Personally, I feel that a lot of dairy products are best suited to nutrition plans when you are ‘gaining’ muscle opposed to cutting. This way even if there is a slight increase in body fat it doesn’t matter! In my off season plan, you can be sure there will be dairy products in there!

There you have a basic guide of the benefits to having some dairy products as part of your diet. More and more athletes are now utilising the benefits of these products on a daily basis to give their body and muscles key nutrients. Be sure to try some of these dairy products in your nutritional plan and see what benefits you are able to achieve.

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