If you like consuming dairy and want to improve your heart health, good news: a new study shows more dairy fat can lower the risk for heart disease.
According to a new study, those with higher consumption of dairy fat have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, examined dairy fat consumption habits of 4,150 60-year-olds in Sweden. Researchers followed them for an average period of 16 years to observe the incidences of cardiovascular events and deaths.
After adjusting for cardiovascular disease risks like age, lifestyle, dietary habits, and more, they came to an interesting conclusion. Their results show that those with a higher intake of dairy fats also had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, this group also had no increased risk of death from all causes. Afterward, the researchers combined their findings with 17 other studies, totaling almost 43,000 people from Denmark, the US, and the UK.
“While the findings may be partly influenced by factors other than dairy fat, our study does not suggest any harm of dairy fat per se,” says Matti Marklund. “We found those with the highest levels actually had the lowest risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease). These relationships are highly interesting, but we need further studies to better understand the full health impact of dairy fats and dairy foods.”
Marklund is a senior researcher at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney and a joint senior author of the paper.
Nutrients in Dairy
According to lead author Kathy Trieu, consuming some dairy foods has been previously linked to heart benefits. “Increasing evidence suggests that the health impact of dairy foods may be more dependent on the type – such as cheese, yogurt, milk, and butter – rather than the fat content, which has raised doubts if avoidance of dairy fats overall is beneficial for cardiovascular health,” she says.
“Our study suggests that cutting down on dairy fat or avoiding dairy altogether might not be the best choice for heart health,” Trieu adds. “It is important to remember that although dairy foods can be rich in saturated fat, they are also rich in many other nutrients and can be a part of a healthy diet. However, other fats like those found in seafood, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils can have greater health benefits than dairy fats.”
When it comes to improving your heart health, this study shows more dairy fat can lower the risk for heart disease. Look for healthy dairy products that will boost your health, as well as other foods that will improve your diet.
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