People who eat low-fat yogurt regularly are less likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study says.
The study involved approximately 2,000 volunteers who were followed for 15 years. Researchers found that people were less likely to develop high blood pressure if they ate one six-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt at least once in three days. The reduction in risk of high blood pressure in later life could be as much as 31 percent.
The results were consistent even after the researchers accounted other factors like diet, exercise and smoking habits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently reported that about 68 million adults in the U.S., which is about one in every three adults in the country, have high blood pressure. About half of these people don't have their blood pressure under control.
As people get older, their blood pressure increases, said Dr. Robert O. Bonow, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Innovation at Northwestern's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, ABC News reported. Bonow was not a part of the present study.
Experts have warned that the present study does not show if yogurt is directly associated with protection against high blood pressure. They say that maintaining a good lifestyle may help keep one fit and healthy.
"The Dash studies published over a decade ago showed that a healthy diet pattern that included lots of fruits, vegetables, three low-fat dairy servings per day and limited saturated fat along with a moderate sodium intake was effective for lowering blood pressure," said Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who was not involved in the present study, ABC News reports.
How much yogurt is good for health?
According to researchers, a six ounce cup of low-fat yogurt eaten once in three days is good for the heart.
"A woman's fist is about one cup. The palm of a woman's hand is half a cup. So a little bit between those is six ounces," Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis told ABC News.
The study was funded in part by Dannon and was presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Washington, D.C.