Time to swap ice-cream for low-fat yoghurt. At least that sounds like the advice from a new study that suggests fermented dairy product may protect against heart attacks.
Researchers recruited 2000 male volunteers to explore the link between fermented and non-fermented dairy products. After analysing the dietary habits at the beginning of the report, scientists assessed participants annually for 20 years. Results found that during the follow-up period, 472 men suffered from a coronary heart disease incident.
Dividing the groups based on their level of dairy product consumption, the team then compared the groups with the highest and lowest intake, while factoring lifestyle choices and other dietary components.
After separating the participants into four groups based on their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5 per cent fat, researchers foundthose with the highest consumption were 26 per cent less likely to suffer a coronary heart disease incident than those in the lowest consumption group.
The most popular low-fat fermented dairy product was sour milk.
Meanwhile, high-fat fermented dairy products such as cheese did not influence the risk of incident coronary heart disease.
Findings also suggest that eating a lot of non-fermented dairy products was linked to an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. In this food group, milk was the most popular choice - drinking more than 0.9 litres a day was considered high intake. Low consumption did not influence coronary heart disease risk.
"Here in Finland, people's habits of consuming different dairy products have changed over the past decades. For instance, the consumption of milk and sour milk have declined, while many fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, quark and cheeses, have gained in popularity," says Professor Jyrki Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland.
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