A new study has found that regular consumption of dairy can lower a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is currently the leading cause of death around the globe. The findings of the research recommend consuming around three servings of dairy per day to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular-related deaths.
The study, called the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, collected data on 136,384 participants between the ages of 35 and 70 from over 21 countries worldwide. The average follow-up period was nine years, during which participants recorded their dietary intakes at intervals using country-specific questionnaires. Over the period of the study, 6,796 participants died and 5,855 experienced major cardiovascular events.
The researchers defined a standard serving of dairy from each product as such: 244g of milk, 244g of yogurt, 15g of cheese, and 5g of butter. The participants were divided into subgroups based on their daily dairy consumption (no servings, less than 1 serving, 1-2 servings, or more than 2 servings). They found that North Americans and Europeans consumed the most dairy of any nation, on average more than 4 servings per day. Those with the lowest consumption of dairy were South Asian, Southeast Asian, Chinese, and African at less than 1 serving of dairy per day.
Whole Fat Dairy is Better for You Than Non-Fat
When compared to those who did not consume dairy, the group who consumed more than 2 servings per day showed lower rates of total mortality, non-cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular mortality, major cardiovascular disease, and stroke. The researchers also compared rates of consumption of whole dairy. Those in the high-intake group showed lower rates of total mortality and major cardiovascular disease than those who consumed only 0.5 servings of whole dairy. This was also true for those who regularly consumed milk and yogurt, but not butter and cheese. Rates of myocardial infarction did not seem to be affected by daily dairy consumption or by the fat content of the dairy.
“Our findings support that consumption of dairy products might be beneficial for mortality and cardiovascular disease, especially in low-income and middle-income countries where dairy consumption is much lower than in North America or Europe,” says lead study author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan.
The findings are also significant because they are not in line with current government dietary recommendations in the United States, which advise the public to consume 2-4 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products per day. The regulations also recommend minimizing the consumption of whole fat dairy, to lower risk of cardiovascular events. The results of this study directly contradict these guidelines and may lead policymakers to rethink the suggested servings and fat content of dairy products.
The results of this study contribute to the canon of research that has previously found dairy to be beneficial in battling the risks of cardiovascular disease and its related deaths. This study is one of the first to examine the patterns of dairy consumption worldwide in regards to its effects on cardiovascular health.
- Heart attack symptoms in women: Risk Factors when at 40, 50, 60
- 10 foods to help prevent clogged arteries naturally
- Yoga for heart health: Yoga poses to reduce the risk of heart disease