Dairy 101 – A Closer Look at Milk’s Nutritional Benefits

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern


Milk is an incredibly popular beverage across the board. Whether it’s enjoyed by the glass, in cereal, in coffee, or used to make all sorts of other dairy products, dairy finds its way into many people’s diets and fridges. Not only is it a delicious and versatile product, but it is also incredibly nutritious and naturally loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals.

Below are listed all of the essential nutrients that milk has to offer, as well as the percent Daily Value of each nutrient (based on an 8-ounce serving).


Calcium – 25% Daily Value: Builds and maintains bones and teeth and also plays a role in nerve and muscle function and blood clotting.

Phosphorous – 20% Daily Value: Strengthens bones and generates energy in cells.

Protein – 16% Daily Value: Builds and repairs muscle tissues and serves as a source of energy.

Vitamin D – 15% Daily Value: Promotes the absorption of calcium and helps with bone mineralization.

Vitamin A – 15% Daily Value: Promotes skin and eye health, regulates cell growth, and strengthens the immune system.

Riboflavin – 30% Daily Value: Also known as vitamin B2, helps to convert food into energy.

Vitamin B12 – 50% Daily Value: Helps to build red blood cells which carry oxygen from lungs to muscles.

Zinc – 10% Daily Value: Maintains a healthy immune system, supports normal growth and development, and promotes skin health.

Pantothenic Acid – 20% Daily Value: Helps the body turn macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates into fuel.

Niacin – 15% Daily Value: Is necessary for the function of enzymes in the body and for the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.

Selenium – 10% Daily Value: Maintains a healthy immune system, regulates metabolism, and protects against cellular damage.

Iodine – 60% Daily Value: Necessary for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and is linked to cognitive function in early childhood.

Potassium – 10% Daily Value: Regulates the body’s fluid balance, maintains blood pressure, and is necessary for muscle function.

Milk and dairy products have so much to offer in taste, versatility, and most importantly, nutrition. It is recommended that we get three servings of milk each day.

Did you know that we have many dairy farmers who produce lots of milk right here in our home state? So almost all of the milk you get from the store is fresh, local milk!

For more articles about milk, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!


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12 Foods That Protect Your Skin

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

It is always important that we take good care of our skin. After all, it is the largest organ in our body! Now that summer is here and the sun is shining brighter, it is all the more important that we make sure that we are protecting our skin.

Often, whenever we think of protecting our skin, we think of slathering on sunscreen, donning a big, floppy hat, or an umbrella to help keep us shaded, or using an extensive skincare routine to keep our skin clean and moisturized. While these are all great ways to ensure the health of our skin, did you know that what you eat can also help to protect your skin too?

Healthy fats, vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and E, and other compounds such as beta carotenes, lutein, isoflavones, and lycopene are all very beneficial to reducing your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, promoting new skin cell growth, and helping skin to maintain its firmness. Certain foods are especially rich in these nutrients including the following:

  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red or yellow bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Soy
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea
  • Red grapes

Not only are these foods good for protecting our skin from the inside out, but they also have amazing health benefits in other ways too! So, it’s a win-win! Add some to your next meal and enjoy their skin-protecting benefits during these next few sunny months!

Arizona agriculture produces lots of these skin-healthy foods, so make sure to look for them at your local grocery store or farmer’s market! Check out the Fill Your Plate website for more information!

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Keep Your Kids Well-Nourished This Summer!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

It’s summer, which means that school is out, the kids are home, and it’s now more important than ever to make sure that you’re keeping them nourished and well-fed. Nutritionist Shweta Mishra suggests foods and drinks to help keep your kids healthy and hydrated over the summer!

  • Water – A no-brainer when it comes to staying well hydrated!
  • Fruit smoothies – A fun, tasty way to keep their fruit and veggie intake high!
  • Coconut water – Besides being a nice alternative to plain water, its chock full of electrolytes!
  • Yogurt – Probiotics in yogurt keep their guts healthy!
  • Citrus – Provides a punch of vitamin C, and also has abdominal cooling properties.
  • Leafy greens – Full of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, fiber.
  • Protein-rich foods – Gives kids a boost of energy and is vital for their growth and development.

So many of these foods are produced right here in Arizona! Check out your local grocery store for fresh, locally grown fruits, citrus, leafy greens, dairy products, as well as protein products like meat and eggs!

For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Is Oat Milk Healthier Than Regular Milk?

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

In addition to writing for Fill Your Plate, I also work full-time at a local coffee shop. I always find it interesting to see each customer’s coffee order, as some like it nice and basic, while others create quite an elaborate drink with all their different flavor and milk additives. One coffee additive that I’ve noticed is incredibly popular nowadays is oat milk. While it’s obviously not truly milk, it’s plant-based and dairy-free, making it great for those with food sensitivities. But just because it is plant-based and dairy-free doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthier than regular milk.

According to registered dieticians Suzanne Fisher and Trista Best, besides being a great option for those with diet restrictions, it is also very high in fiber and is cholesterol-free. However, it is significantly lacking in protein content, especially when compared to regular milk and other alternative milks such as flax milk. Also, depending on the brand, some oat milks are full of excess oils and sugars.

With that being said, there is nothing wrong with consuming oat milk at all. It is just important to keep in mind that just because it is plant-based, dairy-free, and trendy doesn’t make it automatically healthier. If you do choose to use oat milk, make sure to keep an eye on the nutritional label to ensure that you’re avoiding the kinds with unhealthy additives!

For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!


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Fiber Does More Than Promote Gut Health and Regularity

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Fiber has long been known to be a nutrient that is very important for gut health and maintaining regularity. But, fiber actually does a whole lot more than just keeping our guts healthy!

According to registered dietician Caroline Susie, fiber also helps to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight management, all of which are risk factors for more serious heart conditions or strokes. Specifically, the American Heart Association says that a person’s first-time stroke risk drops by 7% with every 7 grams of fiber they consume in their diets.

Unfortunately, however, only about 5% of Americans are getting enough fiber in their daily diets. The Mayo Clinic advises that men under the age of 50 aim to get about 38 grams of fiber per day, and women under 50 should aim for about 25 grams per day.

Getting more fiber in your diet doesn’t mean that you’ll just be munching on dry bran muffins or eating bowl upon bowl of oatmeal. While those are good sources of fiber, there are plenty of other delicious foods that are high in fiber content! Consider the following:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Corn
  • Avocados
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Peas
  • Chia seeds

Many of the foods listed are ones that farmers produce right here in Arizona! Check them out next time that you’re grocery shopping!

For more health-related articles or for some delicious recipes that use many of these fiber-filled foods, check out the Fill Your Plate website!


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