Milk may not exactly be the elixir of youth, but a new study published online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that it may help older women stave off muscle loss while increasing physical performance.

According to DailyRX News, the study was led by Kun Zhu at the Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia. Zhu’s research included nearly 1,500 women between the ages of 70 and 85 to see just how much dairy intake associates with body composition and physical performance.

The results showed that women who had at least 1.5 servings of dairy daily had significantly greater whole body lean mass and skeletal muscle mass than those who consumed less dairy. Women who consumed at least 2.2 servings of dairy per dairy also showed greater hand grip strength than women who didn’t.

The differences don’t stop there.

"A number of interesting correlations appear in the details of this study: the women who consumed more dairy (712 grams or about 25 ounces) were found to differ in several ways from the group of women who consumed the lowest amount of dairy (210 grams or about 7.4 ounces),” Deborah Gordon, a nutrition and preventive medicine expert not associated with the study told DailyRX News. Dairy lovers as a group also ate more calories, more fat, more protein - the protein difference being primarily in dairy protein. They were less likely to drink regularly. They engaged in significantly more physical activity than the dairy minimizers." 

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Benefits from regularly consuming dairy products don’t stop there. Other benefits include treating obesity, fighting osteoporosis, preventing type 2 diabetes, decreasing the risk of stroke and lowering the risk for heart disease. A study released earlier this year found that cheese does more than just taste good – it also decreases the likelihood of developing cavities.