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Eating yogurt with probiotic may help with hypertension

UNDATED (CBS) -- Laima Mihailovich's favorite snack could help keep her blood pressure in check.

"I eat yogurt a lot. I'll have it everyday. I love it," she says.

That's because yogurt contains probiotics, a natural bacteria that's believed to help with digestion. Probiotic supplements are also widely available.

Now, new research examining nine previous studies of more than 500 patients suggests eating probiotics may lower blood pressure. Researchers in Australia found eating probiotics lowered patients' blood pressure three points on the top number, and two points on the bottom.

Researchers say probiotics with multiple bacteria are better than those with single bacteria. 

Patients had to consume probiotics regularly, for at least eight weeks to see a modest drop in blood pressure.

But NYU cardiologist Harmony Reynolds says it's not clear that a supplement is as beneficial as getting probiotics from your food.

"Sometimes if people change their diet, exercise more and probiotic is part of that healthy eating plan, they can avoid medicine, and I love to see that," says Reynolds.

"Instead of going and having ice cream, I will have nice cold yogurt and it's very satisfying," says Mihailovich.

It's an enjoyable step toward keeping her heart healthy.

Researchers say more studies are needed before doctors can recommend probiotics for high blood pressure and prevention. 

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