Fermented dairy products can protect against heart attacks, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Buttermilk…
Fermented dairy products can protect against heart attacks, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Buttermilk was the most commonly used low-fat milk product among the study participants. Credit: Raija Törrönen
Men who eat a lot of fermented dairy products have a lower risk of heart disease than men who eat less of these products, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. A very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products was, on the other hand, associated with an increased risk of incidence of cardiovascular disease. The results were published in British Journal of Nutrition .
Previous studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products. Examples of fermented dairy products include cheese, yogurt, quark, kefir and buttermilk. However, the investigation of the subject is hardly the case.
The study of the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor, conducted at the University of Eastern Finland, examined the compounds of fermented and non-fermented dairy products with the risk of introducing coronary heart disease. About 2000 men participated in the study. Their eating habits were assessed at the beginning of the 1
984-1989 study, followed by an average of 20 years. During this follow-up, 472 men experienced an episode of myocardial infarction.
Study participants were divided into groups based on how much they compared to different dairy products and researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption, while taking into account different lifestyle and nutritional factors.
When the participants in the study were divided into four groups on the basis of their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5 percent fat, the risk of coronary heart disease was 26 percent lower in the highest consumer group than the lowest consumer group. Buttermilk was the most commonly used low-fat milk product. The consumption of highly milked fermented dairy products as cheese was not associated with the risk of myocardial infarction.
However, the researchers found that very high consumption of non-fermented milk products was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease incidence. Milk was the most common product in this category, and a very high consumption was defined as an average daily milk intake of 0.9 liters. Lower consumption levels were not associated with the risk.
“Here in Finland, people’s habits for consumption of different dairy products have changed in recent decades. For example, consumption of milk and sour milk has decreased, while many fermented milk products such as yogurt, quark and cheeses have become popular,” said adjunct professor Jyrki Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland.
The new study provides additional evidence of the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones. All of the mechanisms are not yet understood, but they may be linked to compounds formed during the fermentation process.
Current advice for limiting milk intake should be reviewed
Timo T. Koskinen et al., Intake of Fermented and Non-Fermented Dairy Products and Risk of Infections CHD: Study of Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor, British Journal of Nutrition (2018). DOI: 10,1017 / S0007114518002830