A high-fiber, yogurt-heavy diet is tied to a reduced risk of lung cancer, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers.

In a new study, participants with higher yogurt and fiber consumption were 33% less likely to develop lung cancer when compared to a group that did not consume yogurt and ate far less fiber. 

“This inverse association was robust, consistently seen across current, past and never smokers, as well as men, women and individuals with different backgrounds,” said senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D. These health benefits may be due to the way these foods affect gut health, Shu added. 

“Our findings suggest a potential protective role of prebiotics and probiotics against lung carcinogenesis,” she wrote. The study provides “strong evidence” supporting the U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline, which recommends a high fiber diet that includes yogurt, Shu concluded.

The benefits of these foods have already been established for cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal cancer. 

The study was published in JAMA Oncology.