A new research study finds eating dairy and not consuming any other food is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.
The study, published in the journal “Annals of Internal Medicine,” found that those who consumed at least 2 servings of dairy per day had lower odds of developing heart disease than those who ate nothing at all.
The study authors, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, said dairy is particularly good for the heart.
Researchers compared a group of more than 200,000 people to a control group that did not consume dairy, and found that participants in the dairy group had significantly lower odds than those in the control group of having a heart attack, stroke and death.
Researchers also found that people who ate more dairy had lower risk of having chronic disease than people who did not eat dairy.
“Our results are important because they show that dairy consumption is a strong predictor of heart health, but not necessarily a cause,” said lead author Dr. Susan M. Fiske, an assistant professor of medicine at the University at Chicago.
Fiske’s study found that the association between dairy consumption and heart disease is stronger among people who were overweight or obese.
Previous studies have shown that dairy intake is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and is protective against all-cause mortality, the authors wrote.
The association with heart disease was also stronger for people who are obese, were younger and had a higher body mass index, or BMI.
“It’s interesting that these two characteristics are correlated,” said Dr. David Katz, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“We don’t know what’s causing that association.”
The study included 1,539,959 people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were followed for 12 years.
Researchers also followed the health of about 7.7 million people who consumed the average of a typical American diet in 2016.
Researchers found that a person’s exposure to dairy was associated with the amount of risk they had for developing cardiovascular disease, which is an established risk factor for heart disease.
For instance, people who consume more than half of their daily calories from dairy have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
“We’re not saying that people are inherently unhealthy,” Katz said.
“There’s lots of factors that can contribute to heart disease risk.
But we don’t think there’s a simple link between dairy intake and heart health.”
Researchers say that the findings may help inform how to limit your exposure to the dairy industry, as dairy consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer and stroke.
They say that, even if dairy consumption isn’t associated with increased risk for heart problems, it may contribute to the growing number of cases of colitis.
“There are a lot of people who aren’t aware of the role of dairy consumption in heart disease,” Katz told CNN Health.
“People may not realize that the amount that we eat, and the amount we produce, are connected to the risk for colitis and other cardiovascular diseases.”
Read more at CNNHealth:Study: Dairy intake and risk of cardiovascular disease is strong among those who were obese.