Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 1) marks World Milk Day – with this year marking 21 years of the global day of celebration to recognize the importance of milk as a universal food, according to the National Dairy Council (NDC).

The day also honours the importance of the dairy sector supporting the livelihoods of one billion people, the council notes.

GAA players Grace Walsh, Cian Lynch and Con O’Callaghan are working with NDC and “Everything Starts with Milk” this World Milk Day, to support the essential part milk plays in their pre and post training regime.

The trio are this year’s sports stars appointed as ‘milk ambassadors’ for the ‘Everything Starts with Milk’ initiative, a European Milk Forum campaign in partnership with NDC encouraging Irish consumers to drink more milk as it supports optimum performance.

Commenting, Grace said: “This year I hope to bring insight into how I take my health as seriously as my physical training when I’m off the pitch.

L-R: Grace Lynch, Camogie Kilkenny; Con O’Callaghan, Dublin GAA; and Cian Lynch, LImerick hurler. Image source: Robbie Reynolds

“Strength and ability to play camogie at a top level takes practise and hard work, so having a diet that supplies sufficient energy; and is rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins is important.

“Milk helps me to keep my energy levels up during a match and aid my recovery afterwards.”

The NDC also offered some interesting facts on milk, stating: “Did you know:

  • In Ireland, approximately 99% of the water used for milk production is supplied naturally by rainfall. With almost zero impact on water stress, Ireland is one of the best places in the world for sustainable milk production;
  • Milk is naturally one of the most nutrient dense foods available – just 100ml is a source of eight essential nutrients – protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus and pantothenic acid;
  • Dairy production is a major contributor to the Irish economy, with export value reaching around €5.2 billion each year. The sector supports 60,000 jobs and for every €1 spent in the sector, an additional €2.50 is spent in the Irish economy;
  • Milk is a Neolithic food – it is estimated that milk drinking began around 7,500 years ago in central Europe. Archaeological evidence includes ancient wall paintings, residues on clay pots and from prehistoric teeth.”

World Milk Day is an opportunity to encourage people to make healthy, balanced choices with their diet, and inspire them to find ways to stay active, the NDC says.

“The day itself and the Everything Start with Milk campaign are valuable to anyone who wants to know more about the nutritional benefits of milk, which is so readily accessible, and how it’s such a key component in fuelling your body effectively for training and in day-to-day life,” the council added.

National Dairy Council and the EU has a keen focus on education and outreach to create awareness of the nutritional benefits of milk – therefore, they are looking forward to hosting “in person” and virtual events later in the year to allow young people to train and meet the ambassadors.