Study: Regularly drinking milk can help stave off heart disease

While we at The Optimist Daily are frequent proponents of adopting a mostly plant-based diet, if you are going to indulge in animal products, you might want to make it a glass of milk as a recent study has found it has the potential to keep heart disease at bay. The study found that those drinking milk each day cut their risk of suffering from heart diseases such as heart attacks or strokes by 14 percent.

As part of their study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, the international team analyzed health information from almost two million people in the US and the UK. Those carrying a gene mutation enabling them to consume large quantities of milk had a lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular illnesses. As such, the study’s authors refute previous studies concluding that dairy products can be generally bad for your health.

“We found that among participants with a genetic variation that we associated with higher milk intake, they had higher BMI, body fat, but importantly had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol,” said lead author Professor Vimal Karani, a nutritionist at the University of Reading.

“We also found that those with the genetic variation had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease. All of this suggests that reducing the intake of milk might not be necessary for preventing cardiovascular diseases,” added Professor Karani.

The study’s key finding is that drinking high amounts of milk does not link to increased levels of cholesterol, which can cause blockages in the arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, the authors did find that milk drinkers generally have a higher body mass index (BMI) in comparison to those who don’t drink milk.

These latest findings add to a previous body of evidence about the health benefits of drinking milk, indicating that milk can help build healthy bones and provide the body with essential vitamins and proteins, as well as help stave off memory loss thanks to beneficial nutrients such as magnesium.

Original study: International Journal of Obesity — Evidence for a causal association between milk intake and cardiometabolic disease outcomes

Additional resources: Journal of the American College of Nutrition — Dairy and Bone Health

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