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Nutrition News: Yogurt for Lower Blood Pressure

Charlyn Fargo on

It's the holiday season, and your blood pressure may be rising -- maybe it's the holiday stress; maybe it's the relatives. But whatever the reason, having a little yogurt every day may help lower your blood pressure.

Add a dollop of yogurt to your morning cereal, make a smoothie with a half-cup or have a quick yogurt cup on the go. New research from the University of South Australia and published in Science News backs up this suggestion.

Conducted in partnership with the University of Maine, the study examined the associations between yogurt intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers found that yogurt is associated with lower blood pressure for those with hypertension.

It is estimated that more than a billion people in the world suffer from hypertension (and not just during the holidays), putting them at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

The study was conducted on 915 community-dwelling adults from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Habitual yogurt consumption was measured using a food frequency questionnaire. High blood pressure was defined as being greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg (a normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg).

Researchers found that for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure. Results were even stronger for those who consumed yogurt regularly. Their blood pressures were nearly 7 points lower than those who did not consume yogurt.

 

It may be the live, active bacteria that are responsible for lowering blood pressure. Researchers found the bacteria promote the release of proteins that lower blood pressure. In addition, dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure.

The bottom line is what we eat makes a difference in our health, and a serving of yogurt a day could make a difference if you have high blood pressure.

Q and A

Q: How can you encourage kids to eat healthy foods that they may not like?

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