Q. Why might dairy products be helpful in lowering blood pressure?
A. Dairy products, as long as they are low in sodium, provide the best balance of calcium, potassium and magnesium for controlling blood pressure. Calcium enters body cells and influences how blood vessels tighten and relax. Magnesium supports muscles, nerves and heart rhythm. Potassium works with calcium and magnesium to keep heart muscle toned, and strengthens arteries to endure as we age. Potassium also acts like a bouncer, barring sodium from entering places where its sidekick, water, can cause unwanted swelling. Each of these nutrients alone plays a small role, but together their impact is huge. Aim for two to three servings of dairy a day: one cup of low-fat milk or nonfat yogurt counts as a serving.