A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests that a diet that includes a higher intake of yogurt can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who have high blood pressure. Earlier studies had indicated the consumption of dairy products not only had had a helpful effect on cardiovascular health, but also were beneficial in conditions that often accompany cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. In this new report, researchers specifically concentrated on yogurt.
The researchers examined data on over 55,000 women ages 30–55 with high blood pressure that had been collected from an initiative called the Nurses’ Health Study. Data on 18,000 men ages 40–75 with high blood pressure was taken from a similar report titled the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The data was collected over a follow-up period of up to 30 years.
The analysis of the data showed that women who reported consuming higher amounts of yogurt had a 30 percent lower risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack). For men, higher intakes of yogurt were associated with a 19 percent reduction in risk. In both men and women, those who consumed more than two servings of yogurt per week had about a 20 percent lower risk of major coronary heart disease or stroke.
The authors of this study speculated that yogurt might help heart health by improving vascular stiffness, a condition that can cause arteries to become blocked. Commenting on the results, Justin R. Buendia, PhD, one of the authors, said “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 foods, vegetables, and whole grains.”