In a recent study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, scientists found that eating at least two daily servings of dairy may lower risks of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as other heart disease risk factors.
Moreover, the effects were strongest for full-fat dairy products.
The study is from McMaster University.
Previous findings have shown that higher dairy intake is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
In the study, the team wanted to see whether these associations might also be found in a broader range of countries.
They analyzed data from participants all aged between 35 and 70 from 21 countries.
The health of nearly the 190,000 participants was tracked for an average of nine years, during which time 13,640 people developed high blood pressure and 5351 developed diabetes.
The team found total dairy and full-fat dairy, but not low-fat dairy was linked to a lower prevalence of most components of metabolic syndrome, with the size of the association greatest in those countries with normally low dairy intakes.
At least 2 servings a day of total dairy were linked to a 24% lower risk of metabolic syndrome, rising to 28% for full-fat dairy alone, compared with no daily dairy intake.
At least 2 servings a day of total dairy was linked to an 11-12% lower risk of both conditions, rising to a 13-14% lower risk for 3 daily servings. The associations were stronger for full fat than they were for low-fat dairy.
The team says that increasing dairy consumption may be a feasible and low-cost way of reducing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, diabetes, and ultimately heart disease events worldwide.