What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension—the force of your blood pushing against your blood vessel walls—is caused by carrying extra weight, smoking tobacco, lack of exercise, becoming victim to one-too-many stressful situations, or eating a high-sodium diet. (Isn’t that a solid reason to ditch these 20 Saltiest Restaurant Meals On The Planet?)
While your blood pressure naturally rises and dips throughout the day, its levels become abnormal and detrimental to your health when they remain consistently high. High blood pressure potentially puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in America.
How many people are affected by high blood pressure?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure. And to make matters worse, an additional 33 percent of Americans has prehypertension, a condition characterized by having higher-than-normal blood pressure, but levels not high enough to penetrate the high blood pressure range.
What dietary changes can you enact to lower high blood pressure?
Besides for adopting our tried-and-true 4-Step Plan to Break Your Salt Habit, you can also lower your blood pressure by adding just a single food to your fridge—yogurt.
The protein- and probiotic-packed snack has been found to help control both systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure thanks to the yogurt’s gut-loving bacteria, according to an inspiring study published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
To come to these findings, researchers tested 55,898 female subjects and 18,232 male subjects who suffered from high blood pressure and supplemented their diets with two or more weekly servings of yogurt.
The findings revealed that, especially when coupled with a healthy diet, the yogurt supplementation decreased the women’s cardiovascular disease (including stroke) risk by 17 percent while men’s risk was slashed by 21 percent compared to folks who consumed less than one monthly serving of the snack.
“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, one of the study’s authors, explained to Science Daily. “Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years. 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.”
How to pick the right yogurt for your body.
When shopping for yogurt, make sure to choose a tub that boasts less than 10 grams of sugar per serving; is high in healthy fats and metabolism-revving protein; and contains zero artificial sweeteners, dyes, preservatives, or additives. (The Greek and Icelandic skyr varieties are our go-tos!) To help streamline your time in the dairy aisle, we’ve put together this helpful list of 25 Best Yogurts for Weight Loss.
Whip up creamy smoothies or build a layered parfait for a heart-healing snack that’s as guilt-free as it is delectable. And if you want healthy recipes, supermarket shopping guides, and essential nutrition tips at your fingertips, subscribe to the new Eat This, Not That! magazine now! For a limited time, you can save 50 percent off the cover price—click here!