The #1 Snack to Eat for Better Blood Pressure

It’s versatile, delicious and has some seriously heart-healthy nutrients.

Dairy has unfortunately gotten a bad rep when it comes to its impact on heart health, and foods like cheese and butter have been especially vilified. Dairy has also been under fire about its link to inflammation—but research shows that dairy alone might not be the culprit. Unless you are lactose intolerant or sensitive, dairy can be a healthy part of any eating pattern for those who enjoy it. A recent study found that a certain dairy food might actually pose some interesting healthy benefits, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

A background with a blood pressure gauge with the cutout of the yogurt container with #1 written in it
Getty Images / Peter Dazeley

New research out of the International Dairy Journal found that one popular snack food has some impressive blood pressure benefits: yogurt. The researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 915 adults (both with hypertension and without hypertension) from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Yogurt intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. They found that those that regularly consumed yogurt had improved blood pressure outcomes. Specifically, people with hypertension had significant improvements in systolic blood pressure (the number on the top of your blood pressure reading) and mean arterial pressure (a measure of the average pressure on one's arteries when their heart beats).

So, in short, yogurt lovers rejoice! Especially if you have hypertension or prehypertension, snacking on yogurt or a Nut & Berry Parfait might help you improve your heart health and blood pressure. That said, since this was just one study in one group of people, more research needs to be done to support and clarify the findings. Beyond this study alone, yogurt makes a great healthy snack. It is packed with protein, healthy fats, satisfying carbohydrates and several healthy nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium (the scientists in this study hypothesize that these nutrients might have to do with yogurt's heart healthy benefits, they told ScienceDaily). If you want an additional protein boost, opt for Greek yogurt.

The next time you hit an afternoon slump and need a snack, turn to yogurt. Whether it's a flavorful parfait or enjoyed straight from the container, yogurt can pose some blood pressure-friendly benefits—especially if you have hypertension or prehypertension. For more, check out these best and worst foods for healthy blood pressure.

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