Yogurt Consumption May Help Support Heart Health And Promote Healthy Blood Pressure
Rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases are on the rise in the US.1,2 About half of American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are diet- and physical activity-related.1,2 Chronic lifestyle-related health conditions affect Americans of all ages, from children through to older adults.1,2 Heart health and blood pressure issues are among those public health concerns that have been linked to poor eating patterns, especially diets high in saturated fats and sodium.1,2 Meanwhile, Americans are not getting enough of certain nutrients, like calcium, vitamin D and potassium.1,2 Consumption of lowfat or nonfat yogurt may help support heart health and promote healthy blood pressure. Many lowfat and nonfat yogurts are nutrient-dense foods that are low in saturated fat and, sodium, and can be a good source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
Lowfat and nonfat yogurts are nutrient-dense foods low in saturated fat
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (DGA) recommend limiting saturated fat to no more than 10% of daily calories.1,2 One way to achieve this is to substitute lower fat alternatives for those foods high in saturated fat. Of particular benefit, replacing foods that are high in saturated fat with healthier options, like low fat or non fat dairy, may help improve markers of good heart health.3 Most vitamin D-fortified lowfat or nonfat yogurts are a nutrient-dense snack—providing calcium, potassium and vitamin D—that may help promote heart health when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Lowfat or nonfat yogurt can also be used as a lower-fat ingredient substitute in favorite dishes.
Yogurt is a low-sodium dairy option
The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.4 Yogurt is lower in sodium than most cheeses; thus, consumption of lowfat or nonfat yogurt contributes to the recent DGA recommendation to consume more lower sodium foods.1,2 Yogurt can also be a good source of potassium, which lessens the effects of sodium and helps to control blood pressure.5,6 This illustrates another way that yogurt may help support heart health and promote healthy blood pressure.
Yogurt consumption has been associated with healthy levels of systolic blood pressure
Analysis of data from a large, ongoing, longitudinal study has found that “yogurt is a good source of several micronutrients and may help to improve diet quality and maintain metabolic well-being as part of a healthy, energy-balanced dietary pattern.”7 In this study, yogurt consumption was associated with lower systolic blood pressure.7 In addition, yogurt consumers, compared with non-consumers, had higher potassium levels and were less likely to have inadequate intakes of vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.7 Overall, yogurt consumption was associated with better diet quality, higher intakes of several shortfall nutrients (nutrients under-consumed by most Americans) and healthier metabolic profiles among the adult population studied.
Tips for healthier-ingredient swaps using yogurt
1. Use yogurt in place of mayonnaise in chicken, tuna or potato salads 2. Swap yogurt for heavy cream or sour cream in thick sauces 3. Create marinades, dips, and dressings from a yogurt base 4. ¾ cup of yogurt is equivalent to ½ cup of oil 5. ¼ cup of yogurt is equivalent to ½ cup of butter (1 stick)
Delicious, heart-healthy recipes featuring yogurt
This creamy sweet potato soup is both sweet and savory. It is a warm and comforting dish that is perfect for fall. Sweet potatoes not only provide fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene (vitamin A) but are also a good source of potassium. Making your own soup is a great way to control sodium content in a dish that can often be high in sodium; in this case we use low-sodium chicken broth.
Click here for more tips and recipes for your patients.
Eating lowfat or nonfat yogurt may be an easy, great-tasting way to support heart health
Many lowfat and nonfat yogurts are nutrient-dense. Lowfat or nonfat yogurt is also creamy, delicious, versatile, and convenient, making it a great snack on its own or a nutritious ingredient substitute. Lowfat or nonfat, vitamin D-fortified yogurt contributes calcium, vitamin D, and potassium (nutrients of concern) to your patients’ eating patterns, while helping to limit intake of saturated fat and sodium. It may help support heart health, especially healthy levels of systolic blood pressure.
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. 8th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2015.
2.Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2015. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, to the Secretary of Agriculture
and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.
3.Saturated Fats. (2016, February 12). Retrieved from
4.Lloyd-Jones DM, Hong Y, Labarthe D, Mozaffarian D, Appel LJ, Van Horn L, Greenlund K, Daniels S, Nichol G, Tomaselli GF, et al. American Heart Association Strategic Planning Task Force and Statistics Committee. Defining and setting national goals for cardiovascular health promotion and disease reduction: the American Heart Association’s strategic impact goal through 2020 and beyond. Circulation. 2010;121:586–613.