The is the maximum amount of dairy you should have each day

In a world where there's so many different cheese options like cheddar, goat cheese, parmesan and mozzarella — it can be hard to limit how much you have. And when it comes to a groggy morning, coffee and creamer can be the only cure. Add in some yogurt for lunch, and guess what? You've had quite a bit of dairy for the day. This leads many to wonder if dairy is good or bad for you. According to the USDA, consuming dairy products provides an array of health benefits, especially when it comes to improving bone health. But how much dairy should you be having each day?

For a healthy lifestyle, the American Heart Association recommends you should have three servings of dairy per day. For example, one serving would be 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or 1.5 ounces of cheese. The good news is these dairy items also help us get other essential nutrients like calcium and protein.

Other benefits of having dairy

In terms of our beloved cheese, nutritionist Heather Mangieri told The Huffington Post, "Cheese helps deliver key nutrients that the body needs, like protein." According to WebMD, adult women and men should have about 46 and 56 (respectively) grams of protein a day. Fortunately, many of the cheeses you love have protein. For example, a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has 12 grams of protein and one ounce of parmesan cheese provides 10 grams of protein (via Healthline). However, Mangieri says moderation with cheese is always key.

Yogurt also has multiple benefits including probiotics needed for digestion and can also help you to feel more full (via WebMD). A recent study also showed that eating yogurt helped to lower blood pressure. ”We observed a 50 percent reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure among people eating two or three servings of low-fat dairy a day (or more), compared with those without any intake,” Alvaro Alonso, a researcher in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, told WebMD. So dairy provides strong bones, needed protein and lower blood pressure? Sign us up! 

Consequences of too much dairy

However, there are downsides. Consuming more than the recommended three servings of dairy a day can lead to problems. According to Insider, consuming too much dairy can lead to nausea, bloating, acne, and weight gain, and could also increase the risk of certain cancers. Doctors from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to put a warning label on cheese that's made from cow's milk. It says consumers should be warned that the hormones milk contains may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer (via Insider). Also, too much dairy can lead to constipation (via Healthline).

This is why Vasanti Malik, nutrition research scientist with Harvard, says it's important to keep everything in perspective. She explained it's critical to also eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables and nuts. Malik says these items can also help you get the calcium and protein you need without relying too much on dairy (via Harvard Health Publishing). Seems as though like with many food items, moderation with dairy is key, so stick with three servings of dairy a day and you should be just fine.