The study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, looked at data from more than 55,000 women and 18,000 men who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
Led by Justin Buendia from the Boston University School of Medicine the team noted that while it is widely accepted that high blood pressure can be a major risk factor for heart disease risk, and that previous clinical trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect of dairy consumption on heart health, intake of yoghurt specifically may also be linked to cardiovascular risk.
"We hypothesized that long-term yogurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems since some previous small studies had shown beneficial effects of fermented dairy products," said Buendia. "Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years.”
Analysis of the data showed that higher intake of yoghurt is associated with lower heart disease risks in both men and women with high blood pressure.
“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 the lead researcher.
The team noted that high blood pressure affects about one billion people worldwide, but may also be a major cause of cardiovascular health problems.
In the current analyses, 55,898 female Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 18,232 male Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) participants with high blood pressure were included.
Higher intakes of yogurt were associated with a 30% reduction in risk of myocardial infarction among the Nurses' Health Study women and a 19% reduction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study men.
There were 3,300 and 2,148 total cardiovascular disease cases (myocardial infarction, stroke, and revascularization) in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, respectively said the team – which also noted that increased intake of yogurt in women was linked to a 16% lower risk of undergoing revascularization.
In both groups, participants consuming more than two servings a week of yogurt had an approximately 20% lower risks of major coronary heart disease or stroke during the follow-up period, the authors confirmed.
Furthermore, a 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, they added.
Source: American Journal of Hypertension
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpx220
“Regular Yogurt Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Hypertensive Adults”
Authors: Justin R Buendia, et al