More than one billion people suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure. These individuals have a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death worldwide. Every 36 seconds, someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease.
Yogurt is known to improve digestive health, boost the immune system, and help with weight management. The current study explores the health benefits of yogurt specifically for individuals at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Associations between fermented dairy products and blood pressure are unclear. The current study therefore examined the association between yogurt and blood pressure in hypertensive and non-hypertensive individuals,” explained the study authors.
In collaboration with experts at the University of Maine, the researchers investigated the relationship between yogurt intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. They found that for individuals with hypertension, yogurt is associated with lower blood pressure.
Study co-author Dr. Alexandra Wade said the research provides new evidence that connects yogurt with positive blood pressure outcomes for hypertensive people.
“High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so it’s important that we continue to find ways to reduce and regulate it,” explained Dr. Wade.
“Dairy foods, especially yogurt, may be capable of reducing blood pressure. This is because dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure.”
“Yogurt is especially interesting because it also contains bacteria that promote the release of proteins which lowers blood pressure.”
“This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure.”
“And for those who consumed yogurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yogurt.”
According to the researchers, future observational and intervention studies should continue to focus on at-risk individuals to examine the potential benefits of yogurt.
The study is published in the International Dairy Journal.