During next week’s grocery run, make sure you pick up at least two cups of yogurt — your heart will thank you. A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension revealed that the sweet snack is good for more than just your gut. Eating at least two servings of yogurt per week was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
The study analyzed over 740,000 participants with previous high blood pressure diagnoses. They collected questionnaires from participants for over 30 years on their yogurt intake and physician-diagnosed events such as heart attack or stroke.
“We hypothesized that long-term yogurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems,” said study author Justin Buendia in a press release, “since some previous small studies had shown beneficial effects of fermented dairy products.”
Other fermented dairy products include kefir, cheese, and sour cream. Kefir is known to be beneficial to skin and gut health, as well, while cheese has been applauded for its high nutrient content.
“Our results provide important new evidence that yogurt may benefit heart health alone or as a consistent part of a diet rich in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” said Buendia.
Some yogurts might be better for you than others — but if you can’t splurge for the probiotic-infused fancy stuff, even a generic brand of regular sweetened yogurt could do the trick. These researchers didn’t discriminate between yogurt types, so whether yours is Greek, Icelandic, or regular, it could be doing your heart some good.
The reason yogurt is so good for you is still up in the air, but researchers suspect it has something to do with an improvement in “vascular stiffness.” Vascular stiffness can escalate into more severe conditions, such as clogged arteries or a stall in blood flow to the heart.
So next time you’re deciding on a snack to eat at your desk, consider a cup of yogurt with granola or even fresh fruit — it’s a heart-healthy food you’ll actually want to eat.