Yogurt—both dairy- and, more recently, plant-based—already benefits from a healthy halo. Consumers are largely aware of yogurt’s well-known gut health benefits and the role a healthy gut can play in overall wellness.
Recent research from the University of South Australia published in the International Dairy Journal indicates yogurt’s potential benefits may not end with the gut, however; a daily serving could help manage blood pressure as well (Volume 122, November 2021, 105159). The research, conducted in a partnership with the University of Maine, sought to determine the “association between yogurt and blood pressure in hypertensive and non-hypertensive individuals.”
To do so, researchers examined 915 individuals from the Maine–Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Yogurt intake was measured by questionnaire, and the individuals were measured for systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure. The researchers found those who were considered “habitual yogurt consumers,” meaning those who ate, on average, one serving per day, saw significant reductions in SBP as well as MAP, especially for those who began the observational study with a normal blood pressure of 140/90 or above, the demarcation to be considered hypertensive. Those in the hypertensive group who consumed yogurt regularly saw reductions nearly 7 points greater than those who did not.
“High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so it's important that we continue to find ways to reduce and regulate it,” said Alexandra Wade, Ph.D., and one of the study’s authors in a press release. “Dairy foods, especially yogurt, 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.
Wade went on to note why yogurt in particular makes an interesting case study.
“Yogurt is especially interesting because it also contains bacteria that promote the release of proteins which lowers blood pressure … This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure.”
The authors concluded that “future observational and intervention studies should continue to focus on at-risk individuals to examine the potential benefits of yogurt.”
Yogurt, and more specifically probiotics, are continuing to see consumer interest, especially as research continues on the positive effects of both on the gut and the overall health. Recently, probiotic-rich apple cider vinegar was found to have potential mental health benefits, and beverages with both pre- and probiotics continue to trend upwards.