Fermented dairy products may protect the heart, finds Finnish study

Fermented dairy products may protect the heart, finds Finnish study

01 Nov 2018 --- Men who eat a large amount of fermented dairy products may have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than those who eat less of such products, a University of Eastern Finland study has found. However, the very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, such as milk or cheese, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland explored the associations of fermented and non-fermented dairy products with the risk of incident coronary heart disease in 2,000 men. The dietary habits of the men were assessed and they were followed up for an average of 20 years.

The researchers found that the risk of coronary heart disease was 26 percent lower in the group of men who consumed the highest amount of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5 percent fat, compared to the lowest consumption group.

Only very high-consumption of non-fermented dairy products – defined as a daily milk intake of 0.9 liters –  was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. Milk was the most commonly used product in this category.

The researchers note that the study supports previous findings that back the consumption of fermented dairy products for health. However, the mechanisms behind this for cardiovascular health are not yet understood.

Click to Enlarge“There is a need for clinical studies, where health effects of different dairy products are investigated in detail. These kinds of studies would also benefit from modern analyses, such as metabolomics, which would give a more comprehensive picture of the physiological impact of different dairy products than the traditional measurements (blood lipids, blood glucose, etc.),” Jyrki Virtanen, PhD, Adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, tells NutritionInsight.

Fermentation may have a beneficial impact on products outside of the dairy category, Virtanen adds, opening up space for the food industry to design new fermented foods.

Innovation in the fermented food space outside of the dairy category is ongoing and growing. One such example is the beverages category, where fermented tea drink Kombucha is enjoying strong year-on-year growth. 

Innova Market Insights data note that over 8 percent of global iced tea launches in the 12 months to the end of June 2017 featured kombucha in a growing range of flavors and formats, up from just over 5 percent in the 12 months to the end of June 2016 and less than one percent five years previously. Numbers rose nearly 60 percent in the 12 months to the end of June 2017, although still from a relatively small base.

The growing popularity of Kombucha is largely down to its healthy profile, of which the “fermented” aspect is significant. Fermented foods were tipped as the no. 1 superfood for 2018 by dieticians and is continuing to be a growing niche area.

By Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com


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