To evaluate the correlation between yogurt consumption and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the study focused on males and females aged 40 and above who were diagnosed with prevalent high blood pressure. The dairy and yogurt intake of the participants were monitored every four years beginning from 1980 until 2006 using questionnaires. The researchers were also granted access to their medical records. Events such as myocardial infarction, stroke and even revascularization (vascular bypass or angioplasty) were reported to them.
Their findings suggest that hypertensive men and women who consumed more yogurt had a lower risk of suffering from heart attack and stroke. Women who also ate yogurt as part of their diet had a lower probability of undergoing any type of revascularization procedure. Furthermore, regular dairy consumption resulted in lower blood pressure in the participants due to the high calcium content found in dairy products. Fermented dairy products also improved vascular endothelial function by reducing stiffness in the arteries. The researchers, however, noted the limitations of their study, indicating that other factors involved in a healthy lifestyle which they did not assess may have also contributed to the positive results. In particular, specific types of yogurt will need to be further studied as different combinations of probiotics reportedly have different effects on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease development. (Related: 8 Superfoods to Boost Heart Health.)
Yogurt has been around for ages. It is produced through the fermentation of lactose in milk by bacteria, which causes the production of lactic acid that curdles the milk. As early as 5000 B.C., people have used yogurt either as part of their cuisine or to cure certain ailments such as diarrhea. Aside from being rich in calcium, which is necessary for maintaining strong teeth and bones in humans, yogurt also contains vitamin B2, which is important for energy production, and vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy brain function and red blood cell production. Yogurt also boasts a huge amount of protein content, which serves to regulate our appetite, hence its constant inclusion in every weight-regulatory diet.
In addition to this, yogurt also contains live bacteria, commonly referred to as probiotics. These probiotics can be present alone or in different combinations. The curative effect of yogurt on bowel-related symptoms can be associated with these live bacteria, as some of them, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, have been known to improve disorders related to the colon. Probiotics in yogurt have also been reported to reduce inflammation, which commonly occurs in people with gut disorders.
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