Probiotics might help to reduce blood pressure, report says

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A report that American Heart Association published in its Hypertension journal suggests that people who regularly eat food that has a high level of probiotics might improve their blood pressure.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that help the body to digest food and strengthen the immune system. Certain types of yogurt contain probiotics.

Researchers from Griffith University analyzed the results of nine studies that examined the link between probiotics consumption and blood pressure in adults who had normal or elevated blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure, which is the first measurement (the top number), was lower by an average of 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in the adults who ate probiotics compared with the adults who didn’t. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was lower by an average of 2.38 mm Hg in the adults who ate types of food that have the highest amount of probiotics, compared with the adults who didn’t eat such food.

The analysis found that the positive effects of probiotics on diastolic blood pressure were greatest in patients whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which American Heart Association considers to be elevated. However, patients who consumed probiotics-rich food for less than 8 weeks didn’t reduce their diastolic or systolic blood pressure.

According to the report, cheese, sour milk and yogurt contain the highest amounts of probiotics. The report also says probiotic supplements, which typically are in the form of capsules, helped to reduce blood pressure.