Dairy products are of particular interest, following research indicating that dairy consumption is associated with lower blood pressure.
Studies have also shown that eating more dairy is linked with a lower risk of diabetes.
However, most of this research has only included participants in Europe and North America, which has limited the generalizability of the findings.
Now, a large international study of data from almost 150,000 people has concluded that a higher intake of dairy, especially whole fat varieties, is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The study also concluded that increased whole fat dairy consumption was associated with lower rates of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk of heart disease.
The findings are published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
The investigation included data from 147,812 people from 21 countries, spanning Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Europe. The participants ranged in age from 35 to 70.
The researchers learned about the participants’ food intake over a year using questionnaires.
On these, participants recorded the number of times that they had consumed specific items from a list, with an average follow-up of 9 years.