High Protein Diet can Lower Blood Pressure

high protein diet and low in carbThe advancement in technology makes it possible for research breakthroughs to happen in this century. For instance, the latest advancement in health and nutrition to set the online community abuzz is the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study on high protein diets. BUSM researchers were able to discover that high protein diets can actually benefit those suffering from hypertension.

The Study

According to Lynn Moore, an associate professor of medicine and co-author of the study, protein can benefit hypertensive patients and can play a role in controlling high blood pressure in the long run. Their latest discovery implies that they need to re-evaluate protein intake standards in order to ensure that it provides the best heart health options.

The study actually took time since they have to observe Framingham Offspring Study participants from a healthy status up to the time they develop hypertension within an 11-year period.

The researchers found that adult participants who consume at least 100 grams of protein everyday were found to have the lowest risk of high blood pressure. It does not matter if protein came from plant or animal sources. Either way, both systolic and diastolic pressures showed significant levels of decline.

In addition, adding more dietary fiber further decreases blood pressure levels to as much as 40 to 60 percent. The results were similar to participants with BMI of ≥25 kg/m2 (overweight) and those with BMI of <25 kg/m2 (normal).

These results strengthen previous studies that showed seafoods and eggs have a positive effect in lowering the risk of high blood pressure.

Rationale Behind the High Protein Diet

According to study author Justin R. Buendia, the amino acids found in protein may have a role in lowering and regulating blood pressure levels. To be specific, arginine, a type of amino acid, has vasodilatory effects. According to Buendia, previous studies on amino acids found in dairy products showed similar results as well.

Another reason may be attributed to the feeling of fullness a high protein diet can provide. Proteins, most especially meat and eggs, can easily make you feel full. In effect, food intake is decreased. It results in a decline in consumption of high calorie foods. The chain reaction results in an improved metabolic process, including a more regulated blood pressure.

Good Sources of Proteins

When eating a high protein diet, make sure to get it from healthy sources. For instance, go for lean beef, turkey and chicken breast (skinless). Tuna and salmon are also good choices. Choose low fat cheeses such as mozzarella and cottage cheese. Other good choices include plant sources such as tofu, nuts, seeds, beans, and soy milk.

Just be cautious of your protein intake since too much can cause kidney stone formation and kidney disease. A study conducted by the University of Southern California found that those who eat high protein diets aged 50 years old and above have a higher risk of developing cancer. It also shortens their life span to twice as much as those who do not take the high protein diet.

Photo credit: Cam Switzer on Flickr

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