Another new, simple way to combat high blood pressure may be on the horizon. It may be as easy as replacing unhealthy foods in your diet with low-fat (or fat-free) yogurt, finds new research presented at American Heart Association’s recent research meeting on hypertension.

New Finding

Researchers who gathered and analyzed diet questionnaires from some 2,000 adults, who did not have high blood pressure at study-start, over 15 years, found those who got at least 2 percent of their daily calories from low-fat yogurt to be 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure compared to those who ate no yogurt. What’s more, yogurt eaters generally had lower systolic (top number) blood pressure than the no-yogurt group.

Two percent of daily calories amounts to about two six-ounce servings of yogurt per week. This finding gels with suggestions in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which allows up to three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy daily (such as yogurt), along with grains, vegetables, and fruit, as well as limited amounts of saturated fats and salt, a diet which has been proven to lower high blood pressure when followed.

Researchers point out that the study does not show that eating low-fat (or fat-free) yogurt lowers blood pressure, but rather suggests a link between these two things. Further research is needed to solidify the tie.

How It Works

The blood-pressure lowering benefit may come from a variety of nutrients (for example, calcium, potassium, magnesium, proteins)arthritis and heart disease ad and probiotics found in yogurt. Past research has shown people who consume more of these nutrients through food to have lower blood pressure than those who consume less. It’s worth noting that in addition to being supported by the Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, study funding was also provided by a research grant from Dannon yogurt company.

Take-Home

If your blood pressure is high, consider replacing unhealthy foods currently in your diet with low-fat (or fat-free) yogurt. Keep in mind that while yogurt is generally considered healthy, containing B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and protein, not all options are created equal. Check that yogurt labels list: 5 or more  grams of protein and fewer than 30 grams of sugar, 180 calories, and 4 grams of fat. Also scan the label to ensure the yogurt fulfills at least 25 percent of the daily value for calcium, and at least 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin D.