New US research has found that adding yogurt into your diet could be one way of reducing high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Carried out by researchers from Boston University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the team looked at more than 55,000 women ages 30-55 and more than 18,000 men ages 40-75 who all had high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects about one billion people worldwide. Previous studies have shown that a higher dairy consumption could have a beneficial effect on the condition, as well as other cardiovascular risk factors such as type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
In the new study the team found that a higher intake of yogurt — consuming more than two servings a week — was associated with a 30 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack among women and a 19 percent reduction in men, compared to those who ate one serving of yogurt a month.
In addition, women also showed a 17 percent lower risk of major coronary heart disease or stroke, and men a 21 percent lower risk.
Higher yogurt intake in women was also associated with a 16 percent lower risk of undergoing revascularization, a surgical procedure which restores blood supply to a body part or organ.
“We hypothesized that long-term yogurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems since some previous small studies had shown beneficial effects of fermented dairy products,” said one of the paper’s authors, Justin Buendia. “Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years. Our results provide important new evidence that yogurt may benefit heart health alone or as a consistent part of a diet rich in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
The findings can be found published online in the American Journal of Hypertension.