Eating yogurt on a regular basis may help reduce measures of chronic inflammation in women and support a healthy digestive system, researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (UW-Madison) report in the British Journal of Nutrition.
A new clinical study conducted independently by UW-Madison and funded by National Dairy Council (NDC) showed that eating 12 ounces of low-fat yogurt a day reduced several biomarkers of inflammation in both normal-weight and obese premenopausal women.
“While dairy has been perceived by some consumers to contribute to inflammation, this new research suggests that the opposite may be true,” said Bradley Bolling, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the researchers of the study. “We found that women were able to reduce biomarkers associated with chronic inflammation, possibly due to improving digestive health, simply by eating 1.5 servings of low-fat yogurt per day.”
The study is the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to provide data that indicates specifically that regular, low-fat yogurt consumption reduces the disease biomarkers (i.e., a measurable presence) of inflammation in women. This is significant because chronic inflammation can contribute to metabolic conditions and a host of related diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), all leading public health issues. Therefore, these clinical findings are consistent with a body of observational research that shows dairy foods (e.g. milk, cheese and yogurt), regardless of fat level, are associated with a reduced risk of CVD and T2D. Research in this emerging area will be ongoing.
In the nine-week study, UW-Madison assessed 120 women (60 obese, 60 non-obese), aged 21-55, who were randomly assigned to eat either 339 g of low-fat yogurt (about 12 ounces) or 324 g of non-dairy pudding. There were no caloric restrictions, and the subjects were instructed to follow their regular diet and limit their consumption of fermented foods and probiotics during the study.
Researchers measured inflammatory biomarkers and indicators of gut integrity (i.e., how well the body keeps the good stuff in and lets the bad stuff out), and found that overall, eating regular low-fat yogurt every day for nine weeks decreased inflammatory markers related to chronic disease risk, and improved markers related to gut-barrier function in both normal weight and obese women.
“These encouraging clinical results show that eating yogurt, an easily accessible, nutrient-rich food, may be a realistic way to help reduce inflammation and support digestive health in women,” added Bolling.