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Plain, mixed with fresh berries or crunchy granola, layered in parfaits and added into smoothies, yogurt is one seriously versatile ingredient. It can be sweet or savory, rich in protein or completely plant-based. Honestly, what can’t yogurt do? And now, there’s another reason to stock your fridge with this popular breakfast food: Yogurt just might be able to help keep your blood pressure under control.
Yogurt might not be the first food that comes to mind when you think about your heart health. But, according to recent research, this do-anything breakfast food offers up some good-for-you nutrients in every spoonful. Thanks to its unique combination of ingredients, yogurt may be a helpful addition to your diet if you’re working to lower high blood pressure or keep your heart healthy overall.
Find out what it is about yogurt that makes it a potential ally for your blood pressure levels.
Yogurt contains beneficial micronutrients that help regulate blood pressure
Research conducted at the University of South Australia in partnership with the University of Maine studied the connection between certain foods and cardiovascular risk factors (like high blood pressure). Specifically, scientists examined data from 915 adults, who self-reported the foods they ate, including their yogurt consumption.
The researchers found a link between those who ate yogurt regularly and their blood pressure levels. Habitual yogurt consumption, or eating yogurt often, was found to result in lower blood pressure. Those who ate yogurt frequently saw the strongest positive effect, with blood pressure readings that were significantly lower than those who didn’t eat any yogurt at all. Participants who made yogurt a regular part of their diets saw blood pressure levels about 7 points lower than those who skipped out on this dairy-based food.
Why is yogurt potentially so great for high blood pressure? The study’s researchers suspect that it has to do with the micronutrients present in your typical yogurt.
Your average yogurt contains a mix of minerals that help regulate blood pressure: Calcium, magnesium and potassium. As Harvard Health Publishing notes, each one of these three minerals plays an important role in managing blood flow throughout the body. Potassium helps relax the walls of your blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. Magnesium regulates blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels, and like potassium, it relaxes the blood vessels. And calcium is involved in the process of blood vessels constricting and relaxing, helping them function smoothly.
A serving of yogurt is an easy, efficient way to make sure you’re adding these must-have blood pressure nutrients into your daily diet. But it’s not just the minerals present that make yogurt a good choice. “Good” bacteria is also playing a role.
The study’s researchers point out that certain bacteria present in most yogurts help release proteins, which in turn may lower blood pressure. As researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine note, this can help activate receptors in the blood vessels, which in turn can help lower blood pressure overall.
Researchers also suggest that yogurt may not be the only food that offers these potential blood pressure benefits. They hypothesize that other dairy-based foods may also have a positive impact. But don’t just dive into dairy blindly. Look for the key nutrients that can help you take control of hypertension: Calcium, magnesium and potassium. And you can’t overlook yogurt’s beneficial bacteria; turning to probiotics and other probiotic-rich foods may also be a helpful choice.