Eating dairy foods everyday can improve heart health

The influence of a healthy, varied diet on CVD and its risk factors, including hypertension, is well established. Dairy foods have long been known for their role in bone health but the Australian Dietary Guidelines also recognise the importance of including milk, yoghurt, cheese and their mostly reduced-fat alternatives in the diet, particularly for reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension.7 In a recently published meta-analysis, consumption of dairy foods was associated with a 12% reduced risk of CVD and 13% reduced risk of stroke.8 These findings were based on 22 studies with over 900,000 participants.

However most Australians are missing out on the health benefits that come with consuming milk, yoghurt and cheese as they don’t include enough in their diet. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 Australian adults need to increase their intake of dairy foods in order to achieve the levels recommended by the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.9

 

7 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

8 Qin LQ et al. Dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: an updated meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2015;24:90-100.

9 Doidge JC, Segal L. Most Australians do not meet recommendations for dairy consumption: findings of a new technique to analyse nutrition surveys. Aust N Z J Pub Health. 2012;36(3):236-40.