There’s more good news when it comes to including yogurt as part of a healthy eating pattern and improved heart health. A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that eating two or more cups of yogurt a week is associated with a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults who already have high blood pressure.
The large-scale observational study, funded by the dairy farmer-founded National Dairy Council (NDC) and others, is the first of its kind to examine the relationship between eating yogurt and reduced CVD risk in hypertensive adults. Nearly 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, which increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke – two of the leading causes of death for men and women in the U.S.
Earlier studies have shown a beneficial link between consuming dairy foods, including yogurt, and some diseases related to CVD, including type 2 diabetes. This new study suggests that people with high blood pressure may have a reduced risk of heart attack or stroke if yogurt is part of their regular diet.
“People who have high blood pressure are already at risk for cardiovascular disease, and this study indicates that eating yogurt just two or more times a week is something easy and tangible that may help,” said Dr. Mickey Rubin, vice president of nutrition research at NDC.
In the study, data from 55,898 females (ages 30-55) in the "Nurses’ Health Study" and 18,232 males (ages 40-75) in the "Health Professionals Follow-up Study" were analyzed to evaluate the association between eating yogurt and CVD risk among adults with high blood pressure. The results showed that eating at least two cups of yogurt per week was associated with a 30% reduced risk of heart attack for women and a trend for a 19% reduced risk of a heart attack among men. During a follow-up period, eating one cup or more of yogurt per week was associated with an approximately 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.
Finally, regular yogurt eaters in the study who followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, which includes low-fat dairy as a key food group, showed an associated risk reduction for CVD of 16% in women and 30% in men.