Eating yogurt at least five times a week can lower the risk of developing high blood pressure by almost a quarter. In studies involving over 275,000 nurses and 50,000 male doctors, researchers identified 74,600 healthcare professionals who were newly diagnosed with hypertension during the study follow-up periods (which ranged from 18 to 30 years).
Those who developed hypertension were then compared with those who did not to see if there were any previously unrecognised risk factors, after making statistical adjustments to account for known links such as age, family history, exercise levels and dietary intakes of fruit, vegetables, milk (a rich source of calcium), cheese and protein.
Yogurt protects against high blood pressure
The results showed that women who ate five or more servings of yogurt per week were between 17% and 23% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate yogurt less than once a month.
The link was weaker for males, with no significant association found – mostly because the men studied ate little yogurt over all. The researchers were keen to point out that this doesn’t mean that men won’t derive any benefits from eating yogurt.
In this study, the women who ate yogurt gained most benefit if they also followed the DASH diet – a combination of the two reduced the risk of hypertension by around a third (31%). For those who followed the DASH diet but did not eat yogurt, the risk of hypertension was reduced by a lesser amount of 15% to 29%.
Unfortunately no information was available from food frequency questionnaires to differentiate between different types of yoghurt, such as fruit or plain, bio or non-bio, Greek-style, full fat, or low-fat.
Why does yogurt protect against high blood pressure?
Another, factor is that some probiotic bacteria that ferment milk to create yogurt produce substances that inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) in the same way as ACE inhibitor drugs. A similar effect occurs during the production of Grana Padano cheese.
If you don’t want to eat yogurt every day, probiotic supplements are also available.
Read my page on 25 foods to eat to lower blood pressure here.
If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is key to maintaining good control.
Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.
Image credit:Marybelle Greek Style Yoghurt; ritaE/pixabay;