Get Cultured! Adding Yogurt to Your Eating Pattern Lowers Blood Pressure

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Dealing with high blood pressure? Adding a little yogurt to your diet may help reduce it, based on a recent study from the University of South Australia.

The research, done in conjunction with the University of Maine, looked at the link between yogurt consumption, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors. Results indicated that yogurt intake is linked with lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.

Over a billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure, which raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. The leading cause of death worldwide remains cardiovascular disease. One person in the US dies every 36 seconds and every 12 minutes in Australia.

According to UniSA scientist Dr. Alexandra Wade, the study sheds new light on the connection between yogurt consumption and positive blood pressure outcomes in those with high blood pressure. As the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Wade notes it’s very important to continue to seek ways to lower and manage it.

Yogurt and other dairy foods may be able to lower blood pressure. Dairy provides a wide range of macronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium. Each has been found to help regular blood pressure.

In addition, yogurt contains bacteria that help to release proteins that help reduce blood pressure. The study found that for those with high blood pressure, small amounts of yogurt may be beneficial.

In individuals that are yogurt regularly, results were even stronger. Their blood pressure readings were almost seven points lower than people that didn’t eat any yogurt.

The research was performed on 915 community-living adults from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Regular yogurt intake was tracked using a food frequency questionnaire. Elevated blood pressure was considered greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg with normal pressure being 120/80 mmHg

Future observational and intervention research should continue to evaluate at risk individuals to monitor the possible benefits of yogurt.

To help your clients with high blood pressure, here are some great ways to enjoy yogurt:

  1. Make overnight oats with ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup low-fat yogurt and ½ cup frozen fruit. Combine the ingredients and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Enjoy a yogurt parfait with fresh or frozen fruit as a snack or for dessert.
  3. Use yogurt in place of sour cream to top potatoes, use in tacos or vegetable dips.
  4. Try Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise or mustard on sandwiches or in salad dressings.
  5. Add low-fat yogurt to fruit smoothies.
  6. Use yogurt as a dip for fresh fruit.

And here's a PDF handout that you can use however you see fit: 5 Ways to Add Yogurt to Your Diet.

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

1. Alexandra T. Wade, Benjamin A. Guenther, Fayeza S. Ahmed, Merrill F. Elias. Higher yogurt intake is associated with lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals: Cross-sectional findings from the Maine–Syracuse longitudinal study. International Dairy Journal, 2021; 122: 105159 DOI: 10.1016/j.idairyj.2021.105159

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