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Drinking This for Just 12 Weeks Can Improve Your Heart Health, Says New Study

Maybe that's not why you've tried it, but this could be a major bonus.

You often hear of fruits and vegetables being powerful for your cardiovascular wellness. Now, a new study has just uncovered how an increasingly popular dairy drink may deliver surprising benefits to your heart health, with cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-stabilizing properties as well.

The journal PharmaNutrition has published a study conducted by pharmaceutical and physiology researchers at the University Vila Velha and the Federal University of Espirito Santo, both in Brazil. The researchers examined data from 48 patients who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which is simultaneously occurring conditions that increase an individual's risk of heart disease. These may include cholesterol, blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure, or other ailments.

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The researchers divided the 48 participants into two groups. For 12 weeks, one group drank kefir (a liquid drink that's very similar to yogurt and is known for its probiotic benefits) with curd daily, while the control group received a placebo. (None of the patients in either group knew which of the two beverages they were drinking.)

The results were intriguing. The study's abstract states that the participants who drank kefir saw decreased blood pressure, lower fasting blood sugar, decreased levels of bad cholesterol, and, for female participants, increased levels of good cholesterol. The study authors write: "Kefir also reduced the risk of cardiovascular events for the next ten years."

The researchers may have been prompted to examine the effects of kefir on cardiovascular health, cholesterol, and blood pressure based on a 2019 study, in which researchers found that administering kefir to rats stabilized the animals' blood flow, reduced enlarged heart size, and improved calcium-handling proteins—all of which are important mediators in the strength and efficiency of the heart's blood-pumping function. It's been theorized that these study results were thanks to milk fermented by kefir grains.

It might seem hard to believe that just 12 weeks of drinking kefir can result in a whole decade's worth of better heart health… but for someone who tolerates dairy well, seeking kefir out at the grocery store and working it into your diet (such as with this smoothie recipe) could be worth a try.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy
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