Scientists in Britain have found that drinking approximately half a litre of milk every day can keep the heart healthy by protecting it against a range of serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke and type–2 diabetes.
The findings are the latest to emerge from a 25–year study of 2,400 men aged between 45 and 59 in Britain.
One in six who took part in the study was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome–a combination of medical disorders that increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
All the men filled in a food questionnaire, kept weekly food diaries, and recorded the amount of dairy products they ate.
Those who regularly drank milk and ate dairy products were far less likely to have the syndrome than those who drank and ate little or none, reported the online edition of the Daily Mail.
They were also 62 percent less likely to have the syndrome if they drank approximately half a litre or more of milk a day, and 56 percent less likely if they regularly ate other dairy foods.
The more dairy products a man consumed, the less likely he was to suffer from symptoms of the condition, which includes excess fat around the stomach, the scientists said.
Regular consumption of any type of milk, yoghurt or cheese halves the chances of developing metabolic syndrome, the study showed.
The condition–sometimes called insulin resistance–affects the body’s metabolism by increasing cholesterol, blood glucose levels, body fat and blood pressure.
Sufferers have almost double the risk of coronary artery disease and four times the risk of diabetes than those without. They are also almost 50 percent more likely to die early.
Head researcher Peter Elwood of Cardiff University said milk consumption has plummeted over the last 25 years amid concerns about the effect its high saturated fat content may have on health and the heart. But growing evidence suggests this idea is false.
“We are reviewing worldwide studies on the link between dairy (product) consumption and effects on vascular disease, including rates of heart disease and stroke, and there is no doubt in my mind of the benefits”.
“The evidence shows a very powerful effect that is totally against public perception that milk and other dairy products are bad for your heart”, said Elwood.