What eating yogurt does to your heart

Roughly a billion people worldwide have high blood pressure. Maybe you’re one of them.

If you are, you (and the other 999,999,999 people who are in the same boat as you) face some heavy health risks… You’re more at risk for kidney disease, dementia, stroke, heart attack… the list goes on and on.

But there’s a simple way to manage those life-threatening risks.

All you need to do is adopt a twice-weekly habit. And it’s a habit you can start today with a food that may already be in your fridge…

The food I’m talking about is yogurt.

By now, you’ve heard all about the health benefits of fermented foods. Well, it turns out that yogurt — the most popular of fermented dairy products — is a must-have for high blood pressure-sufferers everywhere… and anyone else who wants to manage their risk for heart disease and stroke.

In other words, everyone.

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How yogurt helps your heart

A recent study from researchers at Boston University found that yogurt can help people with high blood pressure reduce their risk of serious complications like heart attacks and strokes.

The study included health data from 55,000 women enrolled in Harvard’s famous Nurses’ Health Study and 18,000 men who participated in Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

These studies tracked participants’ health and lifestyle for more than 30 years. And when Boston University researchers analyzed this data recently, they discovered something amazing about yogurt…

RelatedYour heart called and wants dairy back

People with high blood pressure who ate yogurt at least two times per week had much better heart health. In fact, women with a regular yogurt habit slashed their heart attack risk by 30 percent, and men who enjoyed this tart fermented treat reduced their risk by 19 percent.

Both men and women who ate yogurt also had a 20 percent lower risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. And to top it all off, women who ate yogurt had a 16 percent lower risk of needing heart surgery.

Those are some big benefits! All from that little 6-ounce container of yogurt sitting in your fridge…

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Say yes to yogurt

Do you want to know the best news from this study? Even if you don’t change anything else in your diet, snacking on yogurt twice per week can help you keep your heart healthy. Just make sure to choose an unsweetened kind that doesn’t contain a million ingredients.

If you do choose to eat other heart-healthy foods, you’ll only increase your heart health rewards. In fact, if you really want to give your heart a helping hand, toss some naturally sweet berries in with your yogurt. They’re full of heart-healthy antioxidants and have been shown to reduce heart disease risk too. You can also add nuts to your yogurt. A handful per day can cut your heart disease risk by nearly 30 percent.

Related: 4 ways this simple vitamin undoes heart damage

Of course, if you have high blood pressure and you’re worried about how it’s affecting your health, you should also get that high BP down. You can start by:

  • Eating a protein and fiber-rich diet. Research shows that people who eat a lot of these two nutrients in their diet decrease their risk of high blood pressure by 60 percent.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. A 2017 study found that keeping your weight within a healthy range drops your risk of high blood pressure by 40 percent.
  • Taking supplements that battle high blood pressure. Supplements like omega-3s, vitamin D3, calcium/magnesium, potassium and CoQ10 have been shown to improve blood pressure.

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  1. High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body — Mayo Clinic. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  2. Eating yogurt may reduce cardiovascular disease risk — MedicalXpress. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  3. R. Buendia, et al. “Regular Yogurt Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Hypertensive Adults” — American Journal of Hypertension, 2018.
  4. Basu, et al. “Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health.” — Nutrition Reviews. 2010 Mar; 68(3): 168–177.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.