Probiotics, strains of good bacteria that help the human gut function, are found in yogurt cultures and other fermented food items and have been linked with all sorts of health benefits. Though many such claims are yet to be backed by hard evidence, a new study -- published this week in the journal Hypertension -- insists probiotics' blood pressure benefits are real.
"The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels," explained lead author Jing Sun in a news release. "This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements."
Though the recent survey can't point to a cause and effect, the researchers say previous studies suggest probiotics help control blood pressure by lowering "bad" cholesterol in the blood -- preventing pressure-building plaque buildups -- and better regulating blood sugar levels.
The scientists say additional research is needed to determine which types and combinations of good bacterial strains work best.