New York, Feb 15 : Higher intake of yogurt may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease among hypertensive men and women, a new study suggests.
According to the researchers, clinical trials have previously demonstrated beneficial effects of dairy consumption on cardiovascular health. Yogurt may independently be related to cardiovascular disease risk.
"Our results provide important new evidence that yogurt may benefit heart health alone or as a consistent part of a diet rich in fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains," said co-author of the study Justin R. Buendia from the Boston University School of Medicine in the US.
For the study, published in American Journal of Hypertension, researchers included over 55,000 women aged between 30-55 with high blood pressure from the Nurses' Health Study and 18,000 men aged between 40-75 who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
In the Nurses' Health Study, participants were asked to complete a mailed 61-item questionnaire in 1980 to report usual dietary intake in the preceding year.
Participants subsequently reported any interim physician-diagnosed events including myocardial infarction, stroke and revascularisation.
The researchers found that higher intakes of yogurt were associated with a 30 per cent reduction in risk of myocardial infarction among the Nurses' Health Study women and a 19 per cent reduction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study men.
There were 3,300 and 2,148 total cardiovascular disease cases (myocardial infarction, stroke, and revascularisation) in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, respectively, the researchers said.
Higher yogurt intake in women was associated with a 16 per cent lower risk of undergoing revascularisation.
In both groups, participants consuming more than two servings a week of yogurt had an approximately 20 per cent lower risks of major coronary heart disease or stroke during the follow-up period.
When revascularisation was added to the total cardiovascular disease outcome variable, the risk estimates were reduced for both men and women but remained significant.
Higher yogurt intake in combination with an overall heart-healthy diet was associated with greater reductions in cardiovascular disease risk among hypertensive men and women, the researchers noted.