Men who eat fermented dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and sour milk have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study by the University of Eastern Finland.
However, high consumption of unfermented dairy products is associated with an increased risk of developing the disease.
Researchers, from the University of Eastern Finland, studied the eating habits of 2,000 people over 20 years. During this follow-up, 472 men had coronary heart disease.
Participants in the study were divided into groups according to how much different dairy products ate and the researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption while taking into account the different lifestyles and nutrients.
When participants were divided into four groups based on the consumption of fermented dairy products less than 3.5%, the risk of coronary artery disease was 26% lower in the highest consumption group compared to the lowest consumption group.
However, researchers have found that very high consumption in unfermented dairy products is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Milk was the most common product in this category and very high consumption was defined as an average daily intake of 0.9 liters of milk. Lower consumption levels were not risk-related.
The new study provides further information on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have on non-fermented products. All mechanisms are not yet understood, but can be linked to compounds formed during the fermentation process.