It probably seems counter-intuitive, but yoghurt – which is rich in fermented goodness – appears to be protective against high blood pressure.
We have an emerging hypertension crisis in Australia.
One in three of us are affected by high blood pressure: This means that a third of Australian adults are setting themselves up for a stroke or heart attack.
Getting your blood pressure under control is pretty straight forward.
Over the past year, The New Daily has nagged its readers to get off the couch, get some regular exercise, cut out the crappy, highly processed foods and eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Too difficult? Maybe a regular bowl of yoghurt will help until you can get your act together.
New research from the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of Maine examined the associations between yoghurt intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors.
They found that dairy food, but particularly yoghurt, is associated with lower blood pressure for those with hypertension.
“This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yoghurt were associated with lower blood pressure,” the authors say.
The findings are supported by research going back at least a decade.
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).
UniSA researcher Dr Alexandra Wade explains: “Dairy foods, especially yoghurt, may be capable of reducing blood pressure.
“This is because dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure.”
Yoghurt is especially interesting “because it also contains bacteria that promote the release of proteins which lowers blood pressure”.
“And for those who consumed yoghurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yoghurt.”
How much yoghurt does the trick?
In an earlier study, US researchers followed nearly 2200 adults for 15 years and assessed their diets periodically with a questionnaire.
At the 2012 American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Washington, DC, the researchers reported that people who take in two per cent of their calories from yoghurt have lower blood pressure and are about 30 per cent less likely to develop hypertension than people who do not eat yoghurt.
Eating at least one 170-gram serving serving of yoghurt every three days would provide the two per cent dose.