(NaturalNews) The benefits of consuming probiotic-rich yogurt extend a whole lot further than just promoting digestive health, according to a new study presented at a recent medical conference in Washington, D.C. It turns out that people who regularly eat yogurt as part of a healthy diet tend to have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, a condition that can cause more serious problems like stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney damage, or blindness later on down the road.
Researchers from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, studied and tracked more than 2,000 adults who were part of the Framingham Heart Study, all of whom did not have high blood pressure at the start of the study. Participants answered questionnaires at three intervals during the study, and the study team evaluated and compared rates of yogurt consumption to rates of high blood pressure during a 14-year follow-up period.
Upon analysis, the team, which was headed by Dr. Huifen Wang, Ph.D., found that participants who ate the equivalent of at least one serving of yogurt every three days were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than participants who ate no yogurt at all. Levels of systolic blood pressure, which indicate the force of blood against arterial walls while the heart is beating, were also generally lower among those who ate yogurt compared to those who did not.
"Higher yogurt intake, as part of a healthy diet pattern, may be beneficial for blood pressure control and hypertension prevention," said the research team about the findings.
Eating yogurt without taking blood pressure medication even more beneficial
Overall, the amount of yogurt consumed by participants that experienced blood pressure benefits was relatively low, averaging as little as one-third of a serving of yogurt per day. But even more surprising was the researchers' observation that those participants who ate yogurt but were not taking any blood pressure medications actually fared better in the blood pressure department than those who ate yogurt as well as took the medications.
What this means is that blood pressure medication may be completely unnecessary for many people who simply revamp their diets to include foods like yogurt that appear to improve blood flow and ease arterial inflammation and other factors that can lead to high blood pressure. When consuming yogurt, be sure to look for organic, grass-fed varieties that have not been homogenized, and that preferably contain part or full fat content.