Eating Probiotic-Rich Foods May Help With Blood Pressure Control
Research continues to show that consuming food containing probiotics, known as friendly bacteria, has positive effects on areas of health that seemingly are unconnected to the gut. The latest study shows eating foods like yogurt regularly for two months can result in a modest decrease in blood pressure.
It is important to keep blood pressure within a normal range, as elevated levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disorders and other maladies.
Small Reduction Could Cut Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke Death by a Fifth
In the new research published in Hypertension, scientists reviewed the results of nine studies that included a total of almost 550 people. The participants were randomly assigned to consume either probiotic foods or a probiotic-free placebo. On average, those who took the probiotics had a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 3.56 mm Hg as well as a reduction in diastolic blood pressure of 2.38 mm Hg, compared to those who took the placebo. The lowering effect was strongest in people who already had high blood pressure, noted the authors.
Sometimes small improvements can have a significant impact. According to the authors, the reduction is similar to that seen when people cut their salt intake from six grams per day to four grams per day, which is a decline that may be sufficient to lower the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke by a fifth.
The amount of probiotics needed to produce the benefit was 100 billion colony-forming units, a quantity contained in some cartons of yogurt. Regular consumption for eight weeks was also a requirement for the reduction because no improvements were found in people who consumed the probiotics for less than that period. In addition, products that contained more than one variety of bacteria proved more effective.
Other Benefits of Probiotics
Lead author Jing Sun said the discovery adds to earlier studies that find probiotic foods can promote healthier cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Other research has linked probiotics with weight loss, clearer skin, chronic pain relief and a boost in immunity.
“The influence that a healthy GI system has on overall health is very often overlooked,” Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine Physician, tells Live in the Now. “Probiotic foods can help regulate bowel patterns, modulate stress hormones, and reduce whole body inflammation. It is not surprising that they may impact blood pressure, but I believe more studies need to be done before they can be universally prescribed as part of an anti-hypertensive treatment plan,” she says.
In the meantime, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to include yogurt, Kefir and other food sources of probiotics in the diet. All indications point to the fact that they can enhance wellness.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.