A daily yogurt could help millions control their high blood pressure

ADELAIDE, Australia — An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a yogurt a day may be the key to reducing your blood pressure. Researchers from the United States and Australia find adding a serving of yogurt to a hypertension patient’s daily diet lowers their blood pressure.

A team from the Universities of Maine and South Australia examined over 900 adults participating in the Maine–Syracuse Longitudinal Study. They measured each person’s yogurt eating habits through a food frequency questionnaire, defining high blood pressure as any reading above 140/90 mmHg. Normal blood pressure sits around 120/80 mmHg, with anything higher being a cause for concern.

“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,” says UniSA researcher Dr. Alexandra Wade in a university release. “Dairy foods, especially yogurt, may be capable of reducing blood pressure.”

How do dairy products prevent hypertension?

“Dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure,” Dr. Wade explains.

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,” Wade continues.

“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.”

High blood pressure leads to even greater problems

Globally, over one billion people have high blood pressure, including nearly half (47%) of all U.S. adults, according to the CDC. That’s around 116 million people in America alone.

Researchers warn that developing hypertension puts people at risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as life-threatening cardiac events like heart attacks and strokes. Overall, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Estimates show that a person dies of cardiovascular-related diseases every 36 seconds in the U.S.

The findings appear in the International Dairy Journal.

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