Australia and Maine—Yogurt is associated with lower blood pressure for those with hypertension, according to a new studyperformed by researchers at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in collaboration with researchers from the University of Maine.

UniSA researcher Dr. Alexandra Wade explained the concept 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. Yogurt is especially interesting because it also contains bacteria that promote the release of proteins which lowers blood pressure.”

The study was conducted on 915 community-dwelling adults from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Habitual yogurt consumption was measured using a food frequency questionnaire.

“This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure,” Dr. Wade shared. “And for those who consumed yogurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yogurt."

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide, killing one person in the U.S. every 36 seconds, and one person in Australia every 12 minutes. High blood pressure puts people at higher risk of CVDs, including heart attack and stroke.

The study was observational, meaning that it can’t prove cause and effect. The researchers are calling for future observational and intervention studies, in order to better examine and pinpoint the potential benefits of yogurt.