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There have been numerous debates in the past as to whether dairy products are good or bad for your heart health. Studies have supported and rejected the claim that consuming milk or eating yoghurt can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the fat, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, and possibly lactose.
With all the misconceptions and confusions going around, low-fat or non-fat cheese, milk and yoghurt have become doubtlessly popular. However, a recent study revealed that, when consumed in moderation, dairy products can actually be good for your heart health.
Dairy And Heart Health: The Study
Published in the European Heart Journal, the study examined the impact of dairy products on heart health. The study was comprised of 136,384 respondents who were monitored for nine years. The study aimed to assess and understand how consumption of dairy products (such as milk, yoghurt, cheese etc.) would impact your health  .
Over the period of the study, 6,796 deaths and 5,855 heart events were reported. The analysis data revealed that the (adult) respondents who consumed two or more servings had 22 per cent lower risk for heart disease, a 23 per cent lower risk of heart-related deaths and a 34 per cent lower risk for stroke - in comparison to adults who did not consume dairy at all.
Consequently, the researchers focused on exploring the impact of each dairy product. It was revealed that one serving of milk a day was associated with 10 per cent lower risk of heart events and heart-related death compared to individuals with no milk intake. And one serving of yoghurt every day reduced the risk of heart events and heart-related deaths by 14 per cent. However, the daily consumption of butter was associated with slightly increased risk  .
Dairy Products For Improved Heart Health
Instead of studying just the complex matrix of dairy foods, the researchers examined the individual components in dairy products, to reveal the theoretical proof that dairy products do play a role in improving one's heart health  .
Starting with vitamin D, it helps improve your blood lipid profile, increase insulin sensitivity and regulates blood pressure. The calcium content helps by decreasing vascular resistance and blood pressure and restrict fat absorption by binding with fatty acids to form insoluble soaps.
The potassium, magnesium and phosphorus content in dairy products help in managing one's blood pressure. Likewise, the protein and bioactive peptides help in increasing the satiety levels, blood lipid levels and reduces the high levels of blood pressure  . The dairy fatty acids such as the conjugated linoleic acid possess anti-inflammatory properties and also help improve the blood lipid profile and increase insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Dairy Products Are Good For Us, Says Researchers
Yes, dairy and dairy products are good for our body. Containing various nutrients such as amino acids, unsaturated fats, vitamins K-1 and K-2, calcium and probiotics, consuming dairy (in moderation) can help your body in various ways  .
A review study conducted at Monash University in Australia revealed that consuming dairy products, especially milk (in moderation) had less risk of hypertension than those who consumed fewer milk products  .
A rich source of essential nutrients required for the well-functioning of your body, these dairy products are sources of several nutrients including protein, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Apart from improving your heart health, dairy products also help in improving your blood pressure and bone density  .
On A Final Note....
Most recent evidence indicates that the consumption of dairy foods, including milk, cheese and yoghurt can help protect your heart health, however, consumption in moderation is the key. Though it is good for your heart health and has the alleged ability to improve your cardiovascular health, dairy products must be consumed in a controlled manner. Excess of anything is not good for your body and yourself.
Infographics by Kshitij Sharma
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-  Gholami, F., Khoramdad, M., Esmailnasab, N., Moradi, G., Nouri, B., Safiri, S., & Alimohamadi, Y. (2017). The effect of dairy consumption on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases: A meta-analysis of prospective studies. Journal of cardiovascular and thoracic research, 9(1), 1.
-  Mozaffarian, D., & Wu, J. H. (2018). Flavonoids, dairy foods, and cardiovascular and metabolic health: a review of emerging biologic pathways. Circulation Research, 122(2), 369-384.
-  Rice, B. H. (2014). Dairy and cardiovascular disease: a review of recent observational research. Current nutrition reports, 3(2), 130-138.
-  Alexander, D. D., Bylsma, L. C., Vargas, A. J., Cohen, S. S., Doucette, A., Mohamed, M., ... & Fryzek, J. P. (2016). Dairy consumption and CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(4), 737-750.
-  Drouin-Chartier, J. P., Côté, J. A., Labonté, M. È., Brassard, D., Tessier-Grenier, M., Desroches, S., ... & Lamarche, B. (2016). Comprehensive review of the impact of dairy foods and dairy fat on cardiometabolic risk. Advances in Nutrition, 7(6), 1041-1051.