A cup of this every day keeps the cardiologist away

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Diabetes | Wednesday, October 08, 2014 - 05:02 AM

DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, PREVENTIONDo you ever want to pour yourself another tall glass of milk? Indulge in an extra-cheese pizza slice, or a double-scoop ice cream cone?

If you’re anything like me, it can be tough to turn down offers of these delicious dairy products. But that’s OK because milk isn’t just for your bones. The consumption of dairy may help prevent certain diseases, according to new research presented in September at a food sciences conference in Montpellier, France.

The link between milk and the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension was studied by Dr. Sabita Soedamah-Muthu, of the Netherlands’ WageningenUniversity.

He based his analysis on nine, separate studies involving 57,256 individuals and 15,367 cases of hypertension. He found that as the total amount of dairy increased, the risk for high blood pressure decreased.

That’s because milk products contain the very things that may help to prevent or manage cardiovascular disease risk factors: Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin K2, as well as proteins and certain peptides.

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Get your four servings a day

These findings were supported by a clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The scientists working on this trial said the addition of just four servings of non-fat dairy each day eventually lowered the blood pressure of participants.

“These meta-analyses indicate that there is a link between increasing the number of glasses of milk a day and a lower incidence of hypertension,” Dr. Soedamah-Muthu told Medical News Today.

When your health is on the line

But that’s not all. In addition to revealing the role that dairy plays in heart health, scientists presented new data on the effects of dairy products and dairy fat on chronic disease risk factors, like weight gain, cholesterol and body fat accumulation.

Dairy products also enhance the overall nutrition of seniors, and slightly lower the risk of diabetes.

Bottom line? Four servings of dairy helps you fulfill nutritional requirements in your diet and keep risk factors for disease off the table.

So there is more reason than ever to enjoy your dairy! Just don’t think of this as a free pass to eat ice cream every day – or over-do it when it comes to high-fat cheese or butter. Too much of this saturated “bad” fat can clog your arteries, setting you up for heart disease and undermining all the good that dairy can do.

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Your body needs a little dairy fat

When I advise my patients about getting their dairy, I suggest eating plain, unsweetened options with some fat, so one-percent or two-percent fat is good. Your body needs the fat in dairy to better digest its natural sugars.

Try the plain, unsweetened yogurt, for example, and dress it up yourself with fruit and a little natural sweetness from agave nectar or honey. If you like the thick, creaminess of Greek yogurt, it’s an excellent choice because of the protein content roughly double that of other yogurt.

With serious health issues at stake, this news about dairy is a discovery worth putting into practice.

Why not make that next glass of milk a double!

Related Reading: 10 foods to help prevent clogged arteries


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