Perhaps you've seen the commercials on television that claim yogurt is good for your digestive health. Beyond helping with regularity, new research shows that eating yogurt can actually help stabilize your blood pressure. The probiotics in yogurt have many benefits, namely keeping your digestive system healthy and fighting off infection by boosting your immune system. Now, it seems, there are even greater benefits than previously known.
A study published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension discovered that consuming the probiotics in yogurt had lowered blood pressure of participants after just eight weeks. By comparison, those who ate yogurt for less than eight weeks had little change in their blood pressure.
Those who ate more than 100 billion probiotics per day – about the amount in a carton of certain yogurts – had the biggest changes in lowering their blood pressure. There are other ways to ingest probiotics, if you're not a fan of yogurt. You can also gain the benefits by eating some soft cheeses, such as Swiss, cheddar, parmesan and gouda, according to the AARP.
The dangers of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a silent killer of sorts, as there are generally no symptoms that you may notice. This condition, also known as hypertension, is a disease that can seriously injure or kill you, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure affects 76.4 million adults in the U.S., but many may not know of the risks involved.
If left untreated, high blood pressure strains the arteries over time, which can weaken the heart or lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious medical issues. These are not symptoms of high blood pressure, but could be the eventual outcome, which is why it is essential to take steps to protect your heart and arteries by keeping your blood pressure in a safe range.
There are a few factors that can attribute to high blood pressure, according to the AMA, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- High cholesterol
- Family history
There are several ways to combat high blood pressure to reduce your risk of more serious consequences later in life. Two of the best and most recommended ways include exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. As research has shown, adding yogurt into your diet can be a part of your routine to lower blood pressure. Other methods include avoiding smoking, keeping a healthy weight, managing stress and following medical prescription advice and directions.
If you or someone you know has high blood pressure, remember that there is not a cure for the disease, but it can be managed by making healthy lifestyle choices. Monitoring your blood pressure is a good step to knowing where you stand. According to the AMA, 20 percent of people with hypertension aren't aware of their condition, which puts millions in danger of more serious health risks.
Get checked out
If you think you could have high blood pressure because you have one or more of the risk factors, you can start by changing your lifestyle to include regular exercise and healthier foods. Furthermore, you should get your blood pressure checked. You can do this for free at many pharmacy locations in your area, or you could go to your primary physician for an exam.
When you reach Medicare eligibility, a blood pressure measurement will be taken as part of your annual wellness visit, and you can discuss with your doctor a plan to manage high blood pressure if you have it. These annual wellness visits are completely free for seniors with Medicare, and can help lower the risks of developing more serious ailments later in life.
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