Eating This Twice a Week Slashes Your Heart Disease Risk, Study Says

Researchers found the food was especially good at combatting high blood pressure.

By now, you know that keeping your heart healthy involves more than just getting in plenty of exercise. But when it comes to crafting a diet that can help boost your cardiovascular health, you might be overlooking one important food item. In fact, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by eating one food in particular twice a week. Read on to see which magic snack shouldn't be missing from your kitchen.

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Eating yogurt twice a week majorly reduces your risk of heart disease.

A bowl of fresh yogurt on a table with a wooden spoon
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Many already love yogurt for being an easy, versatile snack you can top with fresh ingredients. But a large study published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2018 found there may be even more to love, establishing a link between eating two or more servings of yogurt a week and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

"We hypothesized that long-term yogurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems since some previous small studies had shown beneficial effects of fermented dairy products," Justin Buendia, PhD, one of the study's authors, said in a statement. "Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years."

Getting in the recommended servings can drop the risk of coronary heart disease by 20 percent.

Woman Eating Yogurt Anti-Aging
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Researchers from Boston University and Harvard Medical School examined the health records of more than 55,000 women with high blood pressure between the ages of 30 and 55 and 18,000 men between the ages of 40 and 55. Each participant then kept a log of their daily diet and any medical diagnoses, including heart attack, stroke, or other conditions.

The study showed that of those who are two weekly servings of yogurt or more, men were 19 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who did not consume the dairy product. Women saw an even great drop, being 30 percent less likely to experience the cardiac emergency. But both men and women who ate yogurt regularly saw their risk of developing coronary heart disease drop 20 percent.

"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," Buendia said in the statement.

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Beware of what ingredients are in your yogurt before you add them to your diet.

woman buying yogurt in the grocery store
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If you're looking to start incorporating more yogurt into your diet, you shouldn't pick up just any product the next time you're in the grocery store. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many yogurt brands are packed jam-packed with sugar—even when they're made with real fruit—and other sugar-free flavors are full of unhealthy artificial sweeteners that can prime your body to crave sweets later on.

Instead, the best option is to work with something unflavored that you can dress up yourself at home with fresh ingredients. "Plain, nonfat yogurt is best," Julia Zumpano, RD, told the Cleveland Clinic. "Both original and Greek-style are excellent sources of protein, calcium, and probiotics."

A recent study also found that drinking milk regularly can be good for your heart.

Young man at home drinking milk
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Other recent research has shown that yogurt may not be the only dairy product that can boost cardiovascular health. A new study published on May 24 in the International Journal of Obesity found that drinking milk daily can also be very good for your heart.

The researchers behind the new report—which consisted of a team from the University of Reading, University of South Australia, Southern Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, University College London, and the University of Auckland—observed nearly two million participants from the U.K. and U.S. through other large population studies and singled out people who consumed higher levels of milk. They found that regular milk drinkers who gulped down at least one glass of milk a day had a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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