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Benefit No. 4: Yogurt May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

"Adequate nutrition plays a major role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and the micronutrients of greatest importance are calcium and vitamin D," says Jeri Nieves, PhD, MS, director of bone density testing at New York’s Helen Hayes Hospital.

Calcium has been shown to have beneficial effects on bone mass in people of all ages, although the results are not always consistent, says Nieves, also an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University.

"The combination of calcium and vitamin D has a clear skeletal benefit, provided the dose of vitamin D is sufficiently high," she adds.

And what qualifies as "sufficiently high?"

Currently, 400 IU per day is considered an adequate intake of vitamin D for people ages 51-70, Nieves says. (Look for the Daily Value amount listed on food labels.) But more may be better.

"This amount is likely to be sufficient for most young adults for skeletal health, although many would argue that for overall health, more than the 400 IU may be required, even at these younger ages," Nieves said in an email interview.

Nieves believes that older people specifically can benefit from more vitamin D.

Many dairy products, including some yogurts, are made with added vitamin D. Find out which brands have added vitamin D by checking out the table below, and by reading labels when you shop.

Benefit No. 5: Yogurt May Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure

One study, which followed more than 5,000 university graduates in Spain for about two years, found a link between dairy intake and risk of high blood pressure.

"We observed a 50% reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure among people eating 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy a day (or more), compared with those without any intake," Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD, a researcher in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, says in an email interview.

Although most of the low-fat dairy consumed by the study subjects was as milk, Alvaro believes low-fat yogurt would likely have the same effect. Dutch researchers recently reported that higher dairy consumption (mainly from milk and yogurt) was modestly linked to lower blood pressure in 2064 Dutch men and women ages 50 to 75.

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