Eating a cup of yogurt a day may lower your risk of developing lung cancer, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that those who ate a daily serving of yogurt lowered their risk of the disease by 20 percent compared to those who did not eat yogurt every day.
And people who ate a serving of yogurt a day – along with a high fiber diet – were able to lower their risk of lung cancer by more than 30 percent.
Studies have shown some probiotics, live bacteria found in yogurt, have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
The team, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, says its findings show that consuming dairy shouldn’t be discouraged – and that a reexamination of the potential benefits of dairy is needed.
Currently, the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends no more than three servings of dairy per day and advises to choose fat-free and low-fat options.
This is based on research that has shown saturated fats found in whole-fat products raises your LDL cholesterol, a marker of heart disease.
However, past evidence has suggested there are a number of nutrients found in dairy products including calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins K1 and K2, and probiotics (in yogurt) that could contribute to a healthy diet.
Other previous research has found that eating dairy products, particularly cheese and yogurt, was linked to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes – but findings have been inconsistent.
For the new study, published in JAMA Oncology, the team looked at 10 cohort studies from the US, Europe, and Asia involving more than 1.44 million people.
They analyzed the participants’ intakes of dietary fiber and yogurt, and then tracked how many of those patients developed lung caner.
Results showed that those ate around one tub of yogurt a day lowered their risk of lung cancer by 19 percent.
Additionally, eating a high fiber diet – filled with fruits, vegetables, and bread – lowered the risk of lung cancer by about 15 percent, independent of yogurt consumption.
Interestingly, when participants has both a high fiber diet and ate a daily serving of yogurt, the risk of lung cancer was lowered by 33 percent.
The researchers believe the benefits come from prebiotics found in a high fiber diet and probiotics found in yogurt.
Prebiotics are a kind of fiber that is indigestible by the human body, and are food for probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts.
Both prebiotics and probiotics promote digestive health, gastrointestinal health and a healthy immune system.
Some probiotic strains have been found to prevent lung cancer growths as well ae anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, the team says further research will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.
‘For the first time to our knowledge, a potential synergistic association between fiber and yogurt intakes on lung cancer risk was observed,’ the authors wrote.
‘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 study comes on the heels of research published earlier this year month from Harvard Medical School that found men who had two or more servings of yogurt per week lowered their risk of developing precancerous growths in their colons by 26 percent.