Yogurt which has heart-health benefits mixed with fruits in a glass

Got High Blood Pressure? Eating More Yogurt May Help

Got High Blood Pressure? Eating More Yogurt May Help

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

If you've heard about the importance of your microbiome and thought the benefits of probiotics were limited to digestion, we have news for you: different strains of these microorganisms can serve many biological functions in the body—including supporting a healthy immune and nervous system.

In fact, a new longitudinal study from Maine-Syracuse found that regular consumption of yogurt, a probiotic-rich food, was associated in hypertensive participants with significantly lower blood pressure compared to those that had little or no yogurt.

Yogurt for high blood pressure

Quick gut check: this study does not confirm that regular yogurt consumption alone lowers blood pressure for those with hypertension. Yogurt and other probiotic sources are not a substitute for medical interventions you may have been prescribed for hypertension—nor does eating more yogurt mean you don't need to maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and implement other lifestyle choices that support a healthy blood pressure.

However, if you're searching for a healthy snack that may complement your anti-hypertensive protocol, this study's findings suggest increasing yogurt intake is a fair bet.

How much yogurt should I eat for my blood pressure?

According to the longitudinal study, those who consumed yogurt two or more times per week had the lowest blood pressure, but the study did not specify servings and serving sizes.

However, in an older and famous multi-center randomized trial study, called the DASH trial, lower blood pressure was connected to eating at least one 6-ounce serving of yogurt every three days.

Similar blood pressure benefits may be achieved by also regularly consuming other foods with probiotics such as kefir, kimchi, or fermented soybeans.

What is the best yogurt that might lower my blood pressure?

The new study did not specify a type or brand of yogurt. However, a good rule of thumb is to look for a yogurt that states that it either contains probiotics specifically—or check for yourself to see if it has the right live cultures listed on its label.

Some species to look out for are L. acidophilus, L. casei, or Bifidobacterium lactis or animalis as they are associated with a range of benefits. This is a better option than yogurts that only contain L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus; although they can enhance lactase activity, they are not widely considered to be true "probiotics" as significant amounts most likely can't reach the gut alive.

For a live culture to be considered a probiotic it also must have enough CFU's (colony forming units). The dilemma is that most, if not all, yogurts don't list the CFUs of their live cultures.

To ensure that you are getting enough, it's best to also take probiotics directly.

5 more potential health benefits of yogurt

  1. Colon cancer
  2. The addition of yogurt to a healthy diet might confer added prevention against the development of several types of cancer, but particularly for colon cancer. One study showed that yogurt consumption was associated with a reduced risk of colon polyps (abnormal clump of cells); and in an analysis of studies totaling more than 500,000 participants, the highest consumption of yogurt was associated with a 13% reduced relative risk of colon cancer compared those with the lowest yogurt consumption.

  3. Digestion

  4. In a randomized, controlled trial, 6 weeks of daily yogurt consumption containing a strain of Bifidobacterium animalis was shown to significantly decrease bloating scores and improve stool frequency in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, compared to the control group. In a randomized, controlled trial of healthy participants, 4 weeks of daily yogurt consumption containing a strain of Bifidobacterium lactis resulted in greater improvement in GI well-being compared to the control group.

  5. Cholesterol

  6. An accumulation of research has shown that certain probiotics may help lower cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation of lipids. Research has shown that consuming full fat yogurt daily for 21 weeks resulted in an increase of nearly 12 mg/dL in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol); and 10 weeks of daily consumption of a probiotic yogurt was able to significantly reduce oxidized LDL compared to consumption of a non-probiotic yogurt.

  7. Bone health

  8. Yogurt is high in calcium and vitamin D3, which is why it's no surprise that yogurt is great for bone health. In a study of 4,310 adults, total hip and neck bone mineral density was up to 4% higher in those with the highest yogurt intake compared to the lowest. Greater yogurt intake was associated with improved bone density, bone biomarkers and indications of physical function.

  9. Weight loss

  10. In a clinical study, researchers assigned 34 obese participants to a reduced caloric diet while receiving either 18 ounces of fat-free yogurt daily or one serving of dairy daily. After 12 weeks, researchers found an average weight loss of 14.6 pounds in the yogurt group compared to 11 pounds in the group that did not receive yogurt. Those in the yogurt group also retained 31% more muscle mass and lost 81% more abdominal fat compared to control.



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