A new study has found that eating foods like yogurt or cheese can actually help reduce high blood pressure.

According to researchers at Griffith University in Australia, probiotics, which are considered the “good” bacteria in yogurt, milk and cheese, can help lower blood pressure. It is already known that probiotics are good for a person’s digestive system and immune system, but scientists were previously unsure if it could also be good for blood pressure.

“The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels,” explained lead author Jing Sun. “This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”

To compile the study, researchers looked at data from nine previously published studies. These studies examined the impact that probiotics had on a total of 543 patients with either normal or high blood pressure. The patients were given probiotic pills, or were told to eat a certain amount of food, such as yogurt or cheese.

In the end, the study found that by consuming a certain amount of probiotics over the course of two months (eight weeks), blood pressure could decrease slightly. However, it cannot be used as a supplement for blood pressure medication, the researchers have warned.

Instead, probiotics should be consumed in conjunction with medication for optimal results.

The findings are published online in the journal Hypertension.

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