Dairy & Blood Pressure

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The Role of Dairy

Useful Links

Milk is a source of many nutrients, including potassium, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.

The National Dairy Council ndc.ie

The nutrients in milk and dairy contribute to the normal functioning of many processes in our bodies:

Dairy & Blood Pressure

Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute indi.ie Irish Heart Foundation irishheart.ie Department of Health – The Food Pyramid and Activity Guidelines healthyireland.ie Drink Aware drinkaware.ie Quit smoking - HSE quit.ie

• Cognitive function • Thyroid function • Growth in children • Normal skin

Iodine Phosphorus

• Bone development • Healthy teeth • Muscle function

Calcium Protein

• Nervous system function • Muscle function • Blood pressure

• Energy metabolism • Reduction of fatigue • Red blood cell formation • Immune system function

• Bone development • Healthy teeth • Energy metabolism

Potassium Vitamin B2 Vitamin B12

Vitamin B5

• Muscle growth • Bone development

• Energy metabolism • Reduction of fatigue • Nervous system function • Normal skin • Normal vision • Energy metabolism • Reduction of fatigue • Mental performance

Nutrition Booklets free to order from publications@ndc.ie • • • • • • •

Children Teenagers Adults 50+ Years Common Dairy Myths Sports Nutrition Handbook Bone, Muscle & Joint Health

Source: EU Register of Nutrition and Health Claims made on foods

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan is internationally recognised for its role in helping to achieve normal blood pressure levels. The DASH eating plan recommends consuming low-fat dairy products and is rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, poultry, fish and nuts. Food and drinks high in sugar are limited.

NDCIreland 2019



Why does Blood Pressure matter?

Healthy Tips for Normal Blood Pressure


Blood pressure is a measurement of the force used by the heart to pump blood around your body.

Having a healthy body weight is an important factor in blood pressure management. A balanced diet and an active lifestyle are key:

Physical Activity

When your blood pressure is measured, it is presented as two numbers. The top number is called “systolic” pressure and represents your blood pressure at its highest – when your heart is pumping blood out. The bottom number is called “diastolic” pressure and represents your blood pressure at its lowest – when your heart relaxes.

Diet Reduce salt intake

High intakes of salt can lead to more fluid being retained in the body and an increase in blood pressure.

The National Guidelines on Physical Activity recommend that adults take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity a day, 5 days of the week (or 150 minutes each week). This can be broken down into shorter segments of activity of at least 10 minutes at a time.

Tips: • •

Replace salt and add flavour with lemon juice, herbs, spices or black pepper. Avoid high salt foods, such as crisps, salted nuts and processed meals. Choose unsalted or low-salt versions instead.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

The Department of Health recommends consuming 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Start at breakfast and follow with a variety of different types and colours across the day.

Moderate alcohol intake


Systolic (mmHg)

Diastolic (mmHg)


90 or less

60 or less




Consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to increased blood pressure. Aim to stay below the Department of Health upper limits of less than 17 standard drinks a week for men and less than 11 standard drinks a week for women. An example of a standard drink is half a pint of beer.


140 or higher

90 or higher

Avoid smoking

Blood pressure ranges:

Nicotine, which is found in cigarette smoke, causes your blood vessels to narrow, increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure.

Source: Health Service Executive, Ireland (2018)

Ideally, normal blood pressure should be around the normal reference level of 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure (hypertension) can be a major risk factor for stroke and heart attacks. The higher your blood pressure is, the greater the risk. Low blood pressure (hypotension) may sometimes result in dizziness, fainting or light-headedness. If you have high or low blood pressure, your doctor will discuss the best management options with you.

Did you know?

The Department of Health recommends 3 servings from the “milk, yogurt and cheese” food group each day as part of a healthy, balanced diet. One serving is equal to 200ml of milk, a 125g pot of yogurt or 25g of cheese.

If you smoke, quitting can help you to achieve a healthier blood pressure.


Our bodies react to stress by releasing stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) into the blood. These hormones make the heart beat faster and constrict blood vessels, resulting in a temporary rise in blood pressure. Participating in physical activity and setting aside some time to relax can help to reduce stress levels.