Ladies, rejoice – that Greek yogurt afternoon snack habit may be one to continue. Research has shown that consuming yogurt on a daily basis may help lower risk of developing high blood pressure, especially if you’re a woman who follows a healthy diet. This new study was presented at the 2016 American Heart Association’s (AHA) Epidemiology/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions. It was also funded by the National Dairy Council, who are not surprisingly, pro-yogurt.
Little extensive research has been done to look at the role yogurt has in overall and long-term health, according to researchers of the study, so lead author Justin Buendia and his colleagues sought out to determine exactly what effect it had on both men and women. The team analyzed data from the first and second cohorts of the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the “largest and longest running investigations of factors that influence women’s health”, as well as data on mostly men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
The data included 75,609 participants with ages ranging from their 20s to 50s. They were followed up with over the span of 18 to 30 years.
As they zeroed in on the link between yogurt and high blood pressure, taking into consideration other factors that might influence blood pressure levels like physical activity or family history, they discovered yogurt helped two specific groups the best:
Women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week had a 20 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure when compared to women who ate fewer than one serving of yogurt per month. This risk was lowered even more significantly in women who followed a diet aimed to stop high blood pressure, more commonly known as the DASH diet – lowering their risk by 31 percent. This benefit, researchers explained, is most likely due to lowering of the body mass index, a measure of obesity. As 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure or numbers above the normal range (below 120/80), these findings show one more proactive way to take care of your heart health.
While other forms of dairy also showed benefits, yogurt showed the most positive effect on blood pressure, in this particular study.
These new findings don’t mean that just by adding yogurt to a diet consisting of mostly cheeseburgers and fries, you can reap the benefits laid out in the study (if only!). Adding yogurt showed the most benefits when coupled with a healthy, balanced diet designed to lower high blood pressure. There are all different kinds of yogurt but trying to incorporate it 5 times a week can become boring and repetitive. Try making your own yogurt cheese or making your own yogurt-based pasta sauce, recipes here.
Yumhee Park is a former content producer for HealthCentral.com.