Yogurt: The New Heart-Healthy Food?
Eating 100 grams or more per day may play a role in stroke and atherosclerosis prevention
Yogurt that is cultured with gut-friendly bacteria may help you stay well during a course of antibiotics, but what can it do for your heart? A new study found that older women who regularly ate yogurt had less thickening of the carotid arteries' walls. Thickening of these arterial walls is a sign of atherosclerosis and has been linked to higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
Looking at diet and carotid artery health
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 1,080 women over 70. They answered questions about their intake of dairy and other foods and about their health. Three years later, they underwent medical tests including ultrasound measurements of carotid artery wall thickness.
The researchers made the following observations about dairy intake and carotid wall thickness:
Yogurt eaters have healthier blood vessels
Although this type of study cannot prove that eating yogurt improves arterial or cardiovascular health, it does show a relationship. The study's authors felt the relationship they observed was strong enough to suggest that eating "100 grams or more per day may play a role in stroke and atherosclerosis prevention."
Remember, the proven ways to keep artery walls healthy are to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, stay physically fit, maintain a proper weight, manage stress, and don't smoke.
Live well with live food
Here are some other good reasons to include yogurt in your regular diet:
(Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:234-9)
Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.