BOSTON — New research shows eating yogurt regularly is linked to a lower cardiovascular disease risk, especially in people with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure itself is a strong factor that can lead to cardiovascular disease, which has been shown in the past to be lessened with increased dairy in the diet. Researchers from Boston University and Harvard Medical School sought to determine how regular consumption of yogurt might affect risk level in a person already prone to developing the condition.
“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,” explains co-author, Justin Buendia in a news release. “Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years.”
The researchers examined health records of 55,000 women between the ages of 30 and 55 from the Nurses’ Health Study, and 18,000 men 40 to 75 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants submitted records of their daily dietary habits along with any diagnoses such as heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular conditions.
The results showed that women who consumed a higher daily intake of yogurt than other individuals saw a 30% reduction in risk of suffering a heart attack. Male participants were 19% less likely to suffer an attack. Both men and women saw a 20% reduction in risk of major coronary heart disease if they reported eating two servings of yogurt per week or more.
“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,” says Buendia.
The full study was published in The American Journal of Hypertension, published by Oxford University Press.
Correction: The original version of this story noted eating yogurt twice a day led to the optimal findings, however the study found that people eating two servings per week saw the 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease.