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Want to lower your blood pressure? Have cheese, says study

Sodium found in dairy products such as cheese have antioxidant properties, which help fight high blood pressure.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 08, 2016 11:21 IST
Antioxidant properties of dairy proteins in cheese help lower blood pressure.
Antioxidant properties of dairy proteins in cheese help lower blood pressure.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As tricky as it may sound but a new study shows that if you want to protect yourself against high blood pressure, often caused by sodium’s effect on the cardiovascular system, then consume sodium in the form of dairy products.

According to researchers, the protection comes from antioxidant properties of dairy proteins in cheese.

The results suggest that when sodium is consumed in cheese it does not have the negative vascular effects that researchers observed with sodium from non-dairy sources.

“We found that when participants ate a lot of sodium in cheese, they had better blood vessel function -- more blood flow -- compared to when they ate an equal amount of sodium from non-dairy sources -- in this case, pretzels and soy cheese,” said Anna Stanhewicz, post-doctoral fellow at the Pennsylvania State University.

“The novel finding may have implications for dietary recommendations. Newer dietary recommendations suggest limiting sodium, but our data suggest that eating sodium in the form of a dairy product, such as cheese, may be protective,” added Lacy Alexander, Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania State University.

For the study, the researchers fed participants dairy cheese, pretzels or soy cheese on five separate occasions, three days apart.

The study found that people who ate a lot of sodium in cheese, they had better blood vessel function. (Resha Gandhi/HT Photo )

They then compared the effects of each food on the cardiovascular system using a laser-Doppler, which shines a weak laser light onto the skin.

Further, the study revealed soy served as an additional control to match the fat, salt and protein content from a dietary source that is not dairy-based.

Participants who had more nitric oxide-moderated dilation after eating dairy cheese, compared to after eating pretzels or soy cheese, the researchers observed, in the paper reported in the British Journal of Nutrition.