Perspective from Robert A. Vogel , MD
March 04, 2016
2 min read

Yogurt may reduce hypertension risk in women

Perspective from Robert A. Vogel , MD
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Women who eat yogurt regularly, especially as part of an otherwise healthy diet, are at reduced risk for developing hypertension in middle age, according to recent study data.

“No one food is a magic bullet, but adding yogurt to an otherwise healthy diet seems to reduce the long-term risk [for hypertension] in women,” Justin Buendia, PhD candidate at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “I believe that this is the largest study of its kind to date to evaluate the specific effects of yogurt on [BP].” He presented the findings at the American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions in Phoenix.

Buendia and colleagues analyzed the relationship between yogurt consumption and hypertension in two Nurses’ Health Study cohorts, consisting mostly of women aged 25 to 55 years, and in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, consisting mostly of men aged 40 to 75 years. All participants did not have hypertension at baseline.

During 18 to 30 years of follow-up, the researchers documented 74,609 new cases of hypertension in the three cohorts.

In the first Nurses’ Health Study cohort, women consuming at least five servings of yogurt per week had reduced risk for developing hypertension compared with women consuming less than one serving per week (HR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.7-0.84). Researchers observed a similar finding in the second Nurses’ Health Study cohort (HR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.77-0.9).

However, in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, there was no difference in risk for hypertension between men who ate yogurt frequently and those who ate it rarely, according to the researchers.

All analyses were adjusted for age, race, family history of hypertension, physical activity, energy, total protein intake, fruits and vegetables intake, milk intake and cheese intake.

Buendia and colleagues also examined the independent and combined effects of yogurt and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on high BP.

They divided participants into tertiles by DASH score, excluding yogurt from the calculation of the score.

Among those in the highest tertile who did not consume yogurt, there was a 15% (Nurses’ Health Study I and Health Professionals Follow-up Study) or 29% (Nurses’ Health Study II) reduced risk for hypertension, with the beneficial effects of regular consumption of yogurt modified by a higher DASH score, according to the researchers.

They found that the beneficial effects of eating at least five servings of yogurt per week were strongest in the highest DASH score tertile of all three cohorts (HR for Nurses’ Health Study I = 0.66; 95% CI, 0.59-0.75; HR for Nurses’ Health Study II = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.62-0.75; HR for Health Professionals Follow-up Study = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.64-0.88). When adjusted for BMI, the results were partially attenuated.

“Our study shows that daily intake of dairy products, particularly yogurt, lowers the risk for developing [hypertension], which is a key risk factor for the development of heart disease and stroke,” Buendia said in the release. “It would be interesting to see if popular yogurt types, such as Greek yogurt, had different effects than regular yogurt.” – by Erik Swain


Buendia J, et al. Abstract P169. Presented at: American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions; March 1-4, 2015; Phoenix.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.