CMHC Pulse Blog

“A Yogurt A Day…?”

A new study in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests that higher yogurt intake is associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk among hypertensive men and women.

High blood pressure is one of the primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease; while clinical trials have previously demonstrated the beneficial effects of dairy consumption on cardiovascular health, yogurt itself may be independently related to cardiovascular disease risk.

High blood pressure affects approximately one billion people across the globe, but may also be a major cause of cardiovascular health problems. Higher dairy consumption has been associated with beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease-related comorbidities such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.

The most current research findings included participants included over 55,000 women (ages 30-55) with high blood pressure from the Nurses’ Health Study and 18,000 men (ages 40-75) who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

In the Nurses’ Health Study, participants were asked to complete a mailed 61-item questionnaire in 1980 to report normal dietary intake in the preceding year, and subsequently reported any interim physician-diagnosed events including myocardial infarction, stroke, and revascularization.

Higher yogurt intakes were associated with a 30 percent reduction in risk of myocardial infarction among the Nurses’ Health Study women, and a 19 percent reduction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study men.

There were 3,300 and 2,148 total cardiovascular disease cases (myocardial infarction, stroke, and revascularization) in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, respectively. Higher yogurt intake in women was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of undergoing revascularization.

In both groups, participants who consumed more than two servings of yogurt per week had an approximately 20 percent lower risk of major coronary heart disease or stroke during the follow-up period. When revascularization was added to the total cardiovascular disease outcome variable, the risk estimates were reduced for both men and women, but remained significant.

Higher yogurt intake in combination with an overall heart-healthy diet was associated with greater reductions in cardiovascular disease risk among hypertensive men and women.

“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,” stated one of the paper’s authors, Justin Buendia. “Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years. 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.”

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