One cannot talk about addressing obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure without including dairy products. Research finds that milk and dairy products can lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to the Dairy Council of California.

In discussing its top 10 nutrition trends for the year, the association links milk and products like yogurt as possible solutions to health issues, or as foods that can mitigate certain conditions.

According to the council, metabolic syndrome and diabetes will continue to be top health concerns, with focus on prevention. An estimated 35% of Americans have pre-diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is the cluster of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats and reduced effectiveness of the body’s natural insulin.

Milk and dairy foods are often shown to be associated with lower risk of both diabetes and heart disease, possibly due to their calcium, vitamin D, protein, dairy fat or specific fatty acids. A few clinical trials have shown preventative effects from dairy, the Dairy Council of California said.

Click this link to download a complete analysis of the Dairy Council of California’s Top 10 Nutrition Trends of 2014, summarized below:

1. Milk and dairy foods promising in prevention of metabolic syndrome and diabetes
2. Dairy fat may no longer be a villain in heart disease risk
3. Protein continues to provide a multitude of benefits across ages.
4. Consumers demand personalization in many aspects of their lives.
5. Challenges to milk consumption continue due to a litany of complex concerns
6. The role of the gut microbiome in health is advancing rapidly
7. Obesity still a primary health concern, with efforts focused on children
8. Consumers’ interest in natural, functional, fresh foods grows.
9. Cognition and mental health are new areas of nutrition research.
10. Changes coming in the health care environment.