Brazilian Natural Medicine

Milk and cheese are rich in protein, vitamins and calcium — Português (Brasil)

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On the table of the Brazilian population, milk can be part of breakfast, whether consumed pure, with fruit or coffee. In cooking, it is used as an ingredient for the preparation of creams, pies, cakes, sweets and snacks. Natural yogurts are also present in meals and cheeses accompany sauces, pasta and several other recipes.

Milk and natural yogurts are rich in protein, some vitamins (especially vitamin A) and, above all, calcium. According to Mariana Melendez, a nutritionist at the bariatric surgery clinic at the Regional Hospital of Asa Norte (HRAN), in Brasília/DF, dairy products are called building foods. “These foods are part of the structural formation of the body’s cells, hence the name, and are sources of calcium, part of our bone metabolism”, she explains.

In whole form, milk and yogurts are rich in fats, in particular unhealthy fats (saturated fats). Fat-free or lower-fat versions (skimmed or semi-skimmed) may be more suitable for adults. Dairy drinks, sweetened yogurts and added coloring and flavoring are ultra-processed foods and, as such, should be avoided.

Cheeses are rich in protein, vitamin A and calcium. However, in addition to the high saturated fat content of milk, they are products with a high energy density (due to the loss of water during processing) and with a high concentration of sodium (due to the addition of salt). Therefore, cheeses, like all processed foods, should always be consumed in small amounts, as part of or accompanying culinary preparations based on in natura or minimally processed foods.

According to the “Food Guide for the Brazilian Population”, foods that spoil more easily (meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter and most fruits and vegetables) should be kept under refrigeration. In addition, packaged foods must be within their expiration date, the packaging must be sealed and free of dents, holes or puffy areas, and the contents must not change in color, smell or consistency.

Healthy eating

During the month of October, due to World Food Day, the Ministry of Health makes available a series of videos on eating habits at each stage of life, through its YouTube channel.


To learn about recipes and ways of preparing fresh or minimally processed foods that value Brazilian food culture, access the publication “In the kitchen with fruits and vegetables”.

According to the Ministry of Health, valuing and encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables represents an important strategy to promote health and adequate and healthy food, contributing to the improvement of the food and nutritional standard and to the reduction of Chronic Diseases. Non-Communicable (DCNT).

Fran Martins
Ministry of Health

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