Education may benefit the heart as well as the brain, especially if you are female, new research suggests.

Scientists found a correlation between years spent in education and lower lifetime blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main underlying causes of heart disease.

The trend emerged from data on nearly 4,000 men and women taking part in a major US health study spanning 30 years.

Researchers looked at systolic blood pressure, which measures blood pressure with each heart beat, and compared men and women who had completed less than 12 or more than 17 years of education. They found that more educated women had readings 3.26 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) lower, on average, over the 30-year timespan.