Yogurt Reduces Risks of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
Sun, April 18, 2021

Yogurt Reduces Risks of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

A study shows that eating yogurt is beneficial to our system / Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Eating yogurt along with a high fiber diet can help reduce the risk of lung cancer, a new study by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center discovered. The study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Oncology, found that people who ate more yogurt were less likely to develop lung cancer compared to people who ate none.

The results of the study added to the growing list of benefits of a high-fiber diet and yogurt, which have been associated with lower chances of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. It also showed that consuming dairy should not be discouraged, the researchers said and raised the need to reexamine the possible benefits of dairy.

Benefits of yogurt and high fiber diet

Lung cancer is the leading type of cancer in the world with 2.09 million cases and 1.76 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer for smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke.

Other than avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke, eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables is among the ways to prevent lung cancer. The US 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline recommends a high fiber and yogurt diet to curb the development of the disease, which the results of the study strongly supported.

The study analyzed data from previous research involving 1.4 million adults in the US, Europe, and Asia, who were divided into five groups based on the amount of fiber and yogurt they consumed.

Results showed that those who consumed at least a tub of yogurt a day have lower chances of developing lung cancer by 19 percent while the group that consumed the highest amount of high fiber diet alone reduced risks by 15 percent.



Meanwhile, the group that consumed both the highest amount of yogurt and fiber have a lower risk of lung cancer (33 percent) than the group that did not consume yogurt and ate the least amount of fiber, British newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

"This inverse association was robust, consistently seen across current, past, and never smokers, as well as men, women, and individuals with different backgrounds," said senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, adding that the health benefits could be traced to the foods' prebiotic and probiotic properties.

The research team said this is the first study that observed a "potential synergistic association between fiber and yogurt intake on lung cancer risk." But they also noted that more research is needed to be done to confirm their hypothesis.

"Although further investigation is needed to replicate these findings and disentangle the underlying mechanisms, our study suggests a potential novel health benefit of increasing dietary fiber and yogurt intakes in lung cancer prevention."

Lowering risks of colon cancer

Another recently published study found that eating yogurt can reduce the risks of colon cancer in men. Data on 32,606 male and 55,743 female health professionals who had a colonoscopy—a procedure analyzing the inside of the large intestine—were examined, along with participants providing detailed information about their health, lifestyle, eating and exercise habits.

They found that men who ate at least two servings of yogurt every week were 19 percent less likely to develop conventional adenomas (the most common subtype of polyps found in the colon), Reuters reported. Yogurt eaters were also 26 percent less likely to develop villous adenomas, the subtype with the highest likelihood of turning into cancer.

According to study co-author Yin Cao, the results of their study provide "novel evidence" of yogurt's association with the early-stage development of colorectal cancer.



"The findings, if confirmed by future studies, suggest that yogurt might serve as a widely acceptable modifiable factor, which could complement colorectal cancer screening and reduce the risk of adenoma among the unscreened," Cao told Reuters via email.

The probiotics in the yogurt were also seen as key factors for the results. Although there is no clear evidence about how probiotics help lower the risk of colon cancer, there are some ways they could, according to Graham Colditz, associate director for prevention and control at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center in Saint Louis. He wasn’t involved in the study.

"Probiotics may help reduce inflammation—a cancer risk factor—as well as bind and neutralize certain carcinogens in the colon."


Eating yogurt can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases / Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Reducing CVD risks

The US 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation of eating yogurt is based on research that showed whole-fat products raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, an indicator of heart disease.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that higher yogurt intake reduced the risk of heart attack by 30 percent in women and 19 percent in men. Women were also found to be 16 percent less likely to undergo revascularization or restoration of perfusion to a body part after suffering from ischemia. Those who consumed more than two servings of yogurt a week were also found to have a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.

All these studies provide evidence that yogurt does more than enhancing healthy gut bacteria and aiding digestion. The results also provide people with new options to prevent grave illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases beyond conventional methods. Still, the best way to curb these diseases is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce or eliminate bad habits that could be detrimental to your overall health.