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Low-fat dairy good for BP

Adults who favour skim milk and other low-fat dairy foods have lower blood pressure than others their age.

Low-fat dairy good for BP

Middle-age adults who favour skimmed milk and other low-fat dairy foods have lower blood pressure than others their age. It has been found that those with the highest intake of low-fat dairy products are about half as likely to develop high blood pressure as those with low consumption. Though some past research has linked low-fat dairy consumption to lower blood pressure, they have focused on children and young adults. The findings from these studies do not prove that low-fat dairy foods have a direct benefit on blood pressure but it at least seems that people who want to prevent high blood pressure can include low-fat dairy foods in their diets. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA, studied 5,880 adults who ranged in age from 20 to 90 and were free from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Participants completed questionnaires on their diets and other health and lifestyle factors, and the researchers followed up with them two years later to see how many had developed high blood pressure. Overall, 180 people developed the condition during the study period. Those who had reported the highest intake of low-fat dairy, mostly in the form of skimmed and low-fat milk, were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those with the lowest intake. The apparent protective effect remained when the researchers accounted for other factors in high blood pressure risk - including overall diet, exercise, body weight and smoking. Milk provides certain proteins - caseins and whey proteins - that may act in a manner similar to blood-pressure-lowering drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These proteins may help explain the study results.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
December 2005
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