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Monday 24th October 2016

Yogurt and sesame oil help blood pressure

25th September 2012

Two new studies presented to heart experts in the United States have shown that including yogurt, or a blend of sesame and rice-bran oils, in your diet, could lower blood pressure.


Researchers in one study found that the oil blend performed almost as well as a routinely used medication in bringing down blood pressure.

And the second study showed that people who eat yogurt regularly are less likely to develop hypertension in the first place.

According to Rachel Johnson, Bickford Green and Gold professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, both studies support the approach already laid out in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, or DASH.

DASH sets out a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat and salt, but which also recommends 2-3 servings of heart-healthy fats daily, Johnson said.

Sesame and rice-bran oil are both considered healthy for the heart.

The diet also recommends 2-3 servings daily of low-fat or fat-free dairy products, which could include yogurt.

In the first study, participants with high blood pressure took either hypertension medication, or the oil blend, or both, for 60 days.

Those who took the medication saw a drop of 16.2 in their top pressure reading, and a fall of 12 in their bottom reading, while those who took the oil blend saw falls of 14 and 10.8 respectively. The group that took both doubled the drop in both readings, however.

The Vivo oil blend used in the study is not yet on the market, but both sesame oil and rice-bran oil are available on their own.

According to Johnson, other heart-healthy fats include olive and avocado oils, nut butters, fatty fish and flaxseed oil.

However, the DASH diet recommends that fat should take up between 25% and 35% of daily caloric intake.

The 2,000 participants in the yogurt study, meanwhile, began the study with no high blood pressure. Their blood pressure was checked over a 14-year period.

Those who ate more than 2% of their daily calories in the form of yogurt were 31% less likely to have developed high blood pressure by the end of the study.

Compared with those who never ate yogurt, any increases in the top blood pressure reading they did record were lower.

According to New York dietitian Despina Hyde, yogurt is a good source of calcium, and many studies have shown that calcium can help keep blood pressure levels under control.

She said the study had underlined what dietitians already recommended. But she cautioned that people should avoid full-fat yogurts or whole milk, because of their high levels of saturated fat.

Meanwhile, Pao-Hwa Lin, associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, said that the studies had once more provided evidence that diet was important in controlling blood pressure.

In some cases, foods can work almost like medicine to lower blood pressure, Lin said.

But she warned that even heart-healthy fats are full of calories, and that obesity is also a risk factor for hypertension and heart disease.

However, the study results have not yet been subjected to a peer review in a medical journal, and should be regarded as preliminary, Lin said.

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