Yogurt has been known to promote intestinal health, thanks to the live micro-organisms it contains. This healthy milk-based snack restores the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. But a new study shows that eating yogurt also contributes to lung health, aside from keeping the digestive system in tip-top shape!
An October 2019 study suggests that eating a cup of yogurt daily may reduce your risk of lung cancer. The researchers found that study participants who ate a daily serving of this healthy snack had a 20 percent lower chance of getting lung cancer. Furthermore, participants who coupled their yogurt intake with a high-fiber diet lowered their lung cancer risk by as much as 30 percent.
For the study, the researchers looked at 10 cohort studies involving more than one million people from the U.S., Europe and Asia. They looked at the participants’ intake of dietary fiber and yogurt, and then tracked how many of them developed lung cancer over time. At the end of the analysis, they divided their results into three maim groups – yogurt alone, high-fiber alone and both yogurt and high-fiber.
Based on the findings, participants who ate around one tub of yogurt alone every day lowered their risk of lung cancer by 19 percent. Those who ate a high-fiber diet alone – rich in fruits, vegetables and bread – reported a 15 percent lower risk. Participants who followed a high-fiber diet alongside yogurt consumption lowered their lung cancer risk by 33 percent.
According to the researchers, prebiotics from a high-fiber diet and yogurt’s probiotics work hand-in-hand to lower lung cancer risk. Prebiotics refer to a kind of fiber the human body cannot digest. These serve as food for probiotics, live bacteria and yeasts found in yogurt.
“For the first time to our knowledge, a potential synergistic association between fiber and yogurt intakes on lung cancer risk was observed,” they noted.
Both prebiotics and probiotics promote gut health and a healthy immune system, although studies have shown that certain probiotic strains have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. However, the team said further research on the matter is needed.
“Although further investigation is needed to replicate these findings and disentangle the underlying mechanisms, our study suggests a potential novel health benefit of increasing dietary fiber and yogurt intakes in lung cancer prevention,” the researchers remarked.
Yogurt is good for you
The study follows an earlier paper, which found that people who ate two or more servings of yogurt lowered their risk of developing pre-cancerous growths. The June 2019 study looked at the diets of more than 32,000 men. It found that men who are two or more servings of yogurt a week were 19 percent less likely to develop an adenoma, a kind of benign tumor, compared to those who didn’t.
Yogurt-eaters were also 26 percent less likely to develop adenomas highly likely to become cancerous over time. They were also 26 percent less likely to experience adenoma growths in the colon. Furthermore, yogurt-eaters had a lesser chance of developing large adenomas – those that measure one centimeter or more.
An earlier study in 2004 using mice showed that yogurt had a positive effect on colorectal cancer. Test subjects were given yogurt before and after being administered with a cancer-causing chemical. Based on the findings, yogurt inhibited the development and promotion of tumors by modulating the immune response and triggering apoptosis (cell death) of cancerous growths.
Currently, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than three servings of dairy products such as yogurt per day. It also advises fat-free and low-fat options for such. The recommendation is based on findings that show saturated fats in whole-fat options raise your LDL cholesterol. This so-called “bad cholesterol” has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
But it’s not just the probiotics in yogurt that contribute to a healthy diet. Past studies have suggested that dairy products contain nutrients for better health such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K.
Furthermore, other studies have found that eating cheese and yogurt was linked to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. However, findings on the matter have been inconsistent.
The authors of the October 2019 paper said their study’s findings show that dairy consumption should not be discouraged. They continued that a re-examination of the potential benefits of dairy products such as yogurt is needed.
A cup of yogurt a day definitely keeps cancer away, and ensures a healthy gut every day!
Yogurt.news has more about the health benefits of probiotics found in this healthy dairy snack.