Milk plays a role in disease prevention for many chronic conditions, including heart disease and hypertension. Milk contains 15 essential nutrients including calcium and protein, which contribute to a nutritious balanced diet. Learn how adding milk into your patients’ diets can help with blood pressure management.


About 7.5 million Canadians live with hypertension, a risk factor for atherosclerosis and premature death.1 Almost a quarter of Canadians report that they have been diagnosed with hypertension by a health-care professional, or that they take anti-hypertensive medication.2

In addition to medication, there are lifestyle interventions that can help manage high blood pressure. These include being more active, eating healthier, relaxation therapies, and cutting back on alcohol and cigarettes.3

As part of the treatment for high blood pressure, the Clinical Practice Guidelines from Hypertension Canada recommend that hypertensive or at-risk patients eat healthier by following a DASH eating pattern.4 DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is an evidence-based eating pattern that is shown to lower blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Download the Milk and Blood Pressure Fact Sheet

Dash dietary pattern

The combination of foods in the DASH eating pattern can decrease systolic blood pressure by about 6 to 11 mm Hg in both hypertensive and normotensive people.5  Milk plays an important role in the DASH pattern, which is outlined below

Food group

Number of servings

What is one serving?

Daily servings

Milk products


1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup yogurt
1.5 ounces cheese



1/2 cup cooked grain
1 slice bread
30 grams cereal

Meat, fish, poultry

6 or less

1 ounce cooked meat, fish or poultry
1 egg



1 cup raw leafy greens
1/2 cup any cooked vegetables



1 medium fruit
1/2 cup cut fruit
1/4 cup dried fruit

Fats and oils


1 tsp oil, butter or salad dressing

Weekly servings

Nuts, seeds and legumes


2 tbsp nut butter
1/2 cup cooked legumes
1.5 ounces nuts or seeds


5 or less

1 tbsp sugar

DASH is also lower in salt, sugar, fat and red meat compared to the typical North American diet. People following DASH are reminded to choose foods that are:

  • Low in saturated and trans fats

  • Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fibre, and protein

  • Lower in sodium7

How much milk?

The DASH pattern includes two to three servings of low-fat milk or milk products daily.8 One serving is equal to a cup of milk or yogurt, or 1.5 ounces of cheese.9 A meta-analysis published in 2022 examined the association between milk and hypertension. A total of 42 articles were included. The researchers found a significant inverse association for low-fat dairy and milk for each 200 gram per day intake increase.10

Milk is an important part of DASH because it’s an excellent source of protein, and contains minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium, which help lower blood pressure levels. There are many proposed mechanisms by which these minerals help lower blood pressure, including helping blood vessel walls relax.

While the original DASH studies focused on low-fat milk as part of the eating pattern, a 2016 study found that a higher-fat DASH plan (replacing low-fat milk products with full-fat milk products) was able to lower blood pressure as much as the original DASH plan.11 Using higher fat milk products also lowered triglyceride levels and did not adversely impact blood cholesterol levels.

Download the Milk and Blood Pressure brochure

Tips for your patients

If patients ask for nutrition advice, start with these tips.
  • Try following the DASH eating pattern
  • Increase intake of milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans
  • Decrease intake of added sugars and salt
  • Choose 2-3 servings per day of milk and dairy products. One serving of dairy is equal to a cup of milk or yogurt, or 1.5 ounces of cheese


Download useful resources, research studies, and fact sheets on the benefits of dairy

Single glass of milk

Nutrients in Dairy

As a source of complete protein and essential nutrients, drinking milk is a simple way to support optimal health.

Get the Facts
Athlete standing and stretching leg

Dairy and Disease Prevention

Naturally nutrient dense, milk helps to combat nutrition deficiencies and ward off heart disease, hypertension, and colorectal cancer.

Get the Facts
Grocery shopping investigating the label on a beverage container

Dairy Milk and Plant Based Beverages

All forms of milk, including lactose-free milk, contain complete protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Get the Facts

Heart Health Benefits of Milk

It is estimated that 80% of heart disease cases can be prevented with lifestyle changes that include a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation.

Get the Facts

Dairy and Colorectal Cancer

Studies have shown that high consumption of total dairy products and total milk was associated with a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. 

Get the Facts

Milk and Hypertension

Milk plays a role in disease prevention for many chronic conditions, including heart disease and hypertension. Learn how adding milk into your patients’ diets can help with blood pressure management.

Get the Facts

Milk and Lactose Intolerance

Some people have trouble digesting lactose, but that doesn’t mean giving up dairy! Read on to learn more about lactose intolerance, how it’s formally diagnosed, and how you can provide the best nutrition advice to patients.

Get the Facts

Milk and Physical Activity

Milk has a unique combination of nutrients that make it the ideal beverage for post-exercise rehydration and protein synthesis.

Get the Facts

Milk and Pediatric Nutrition

Leading pediatric and health organizations recognize the benefits of milk and dairy foods for early childhood. Just how much milk is recommended for children, and which nutrients will kids get from a tall glass of milk? 

Get the Facts

Milk and Mucus

When a runny nose or congestion appears, many people believe they need to cut out milk to reduce mucus. It turns out that this is a myth, and studies show that milk does not cause mucus.

Get the Facts

Diabetes Prevention and Milk

Take a closer look at the role of milk in the prevention of T2D. There are potential mechanisms through which milk and dairy foods may play a role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Get the Facts