Dairy food consumption, blood pressure and stroke

J Nutr. 2001 Jul;131(7):1875-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.7.1875.


Recent clinical and biochemical evidence supporting the hypothesis that consumption of dairy products may be associated with reduced blood pressure and risk of stroke is reviewed. The two prospective studies of dairy food consumption and stroke incidence both indicate that a higher intake of dairy foods reduces risk. It is difficult to associate any one mineral in dairy products to reduction in blood pressure or stroke incidence because an appropriate metabolic balance of all three is important and because of the strong correlations among Ca, Mg and K intakes when dairy products are consumed. In fact, the evidence reviewed indicates that although K apparently has the greatest effect, all three minerals potentially contribute to blood pressure and stroke reduction, i.e., a dietary balance of all three is recommended. Milk and food products such as yogurt made from milk, which retain substantial amounts of K, Ca and Mg, are important dietary sources of all three of these minerals. In addition, milk is a low Na food, which, as seen in Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) II, provides further benefit in blood pressure reduction. New studies have associated dairy food consumption with other potential mechanisms affecting stroke, mainly reduction of platelet aggregation and insulin resistance. Further research is required to explore the relationship of dairy food consumption and stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Dairy Products* / analysis
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / prevention & control*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Homocysteine
  • Magnesium