Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt May Benefit Mental Health

First Posted: Apr 18, 2017 05:00 AM EDT

A new study indicates that consuming the higher amount of low-fat milk and yogurt may benefit mental health. These could lower the risk of developing symptoms of depression, which is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. The study was led by Professor Ryoichi Nagatomi of Tohoku University in Japan and other colleagues, according to Medical News Today.

The researchers examined 1,159 adults from Japan aged between 19 and 83 years. Most of them were women. The team investigated how the consumption of low-fat and high-fat dairy products can impact the risk factors of depression. They asked the participants how often they consumed low-fat and whole-fat milk and yogurt. The researchers assessed the symptoms of depression using the 20-item self-rating depression scale.

The results showed that there was 31.2 percent of men that had symptoms of depression and 31.7 percent of women. Meanwhile, those who consumed low-fat milk and yogurt between one and four times weekly had a reduced risk of symptoms of depression, compared with those who did not consume low-fat dairy products. The researchers stated that the results of this study suggest that a higher frequency of low-fat dairy consumption could be linked with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms.

Low-fat milk holds 1 percent milk fat. This type of milk contains proteins, vitamins and minerals. It may also reduce the risk of diseases such as obesity. Low-fat milk could improve blood sugar levels, maintain lean muscle mass, lessen the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

Meanwhile, yogurt is made of milk fermented with lactic bacteria such as the Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. These are put into homogenized, heated and pasteurized milk that is incubated at a certain temperature. The bacteria then transform the milk sugar to lactic acid that thickens the milk and makes it into a tangy taste of yogurt. This fermented milk could prevent gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, diarrhea, colon cancer and H. pylori infection. It could also boost the immune system.

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