High protein diets have become popular for weight loss, and are now becoming an ideal lifestyle for lower blood pressure, according to Boston. Combining high protein with high fiber and healthy fats seem to result in a 51 percent decreased risk for high blood pressure. While studies show that people who have taken on high protein diets are also likely to exercise and follow other healthy habits, the link to high protein and lower blood pressure exists.
It’s important to note that protein choices consist of low sugar, certain fats, and salt. Steaks could become a poor protein choice, for example, if it’s consumed multiple times per week. The saturated fat is not ideal for long-term heart health. The same issue exists with nuts, which are commonly sweetened or salted and made into other food items as treats and snacks. Boston reports that excessive sodium has been a consistent target for research on blood pressure and cardiovascular health, dating back to the Framingham Heart Study.
Boston University School of Medicine has a new study, tracking over 5,000 Framingham residents, and concluding that those with a daily intake of 100 grams in protein had a 40 percent lower risk of high blood pressure. The key to the Framingham studies is that subjects are not provided with a set lifestyle direction on what to eat. Men and women, between the ages of 30 and 54, provided the latest data on high protein diets, totaling over 16,000 daily diet records.
How does high protein lower blood pressure?
According to some studies, the amino acids in protein dilate blood vessels. Arginine, an amino acid, is found in both plants and animals, making many foods, including eggs, viable sources for healthy protein. Some dairy food items also contain similar amino acids, according to Daily Times.
Dr. Lynn Moore, associate professor of medicine at Boston University, recommends that “research on the vascular benefits of protein, including this study, suggest we need to revisit optimal protein intake for optimal heart health.”
As more research continues, the Daily Times adds that the American Journal of Hypertension notes the effects are similar whether plant or animal-based proteins are consumed.
Many people have resorted to high protein diets, such as the Paleo Diet, to lose weight.
Justin Buendia, one of the study’s authors, stated, “It may be that people who eat more protein have healthier diets in general. With higher protein consumption, you may eat less of other high-calorie foods. You may feel full sooner, and that would lead to lower weight, which would lead to beneficial metabolic outcomes, such as lower blood pressure.”
These observations lead to debates about whether it is the high protein diet or the healthier lifestyle that contributes to the lower blood pressure.
Boston adds that studies on high protein diets are still exploring the long-term effects of these diets on overall health. For example, diets that are high in red meat have also been linked to many chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular health problems. The balance between high protein and excessive protein is not too clear yet.
Dr. Daniel E. Weiner, a nephrologist at Tufts Medical Center, explains, “Changing behavior or health policy based on this article [is] very premature.”
Individuals can calculate their risk for hypertension by using the interactive calculator at the Framingham Heart Study website.
Inquisitr reported that middle-aged men and women who follow high protein diets are four times more likely to die from cancer and other chronic illnesses. The elderly, however, benefited from a high protein diet. Valter Longo led this study, and concluded that a high protein diet could be as bad for people as smoking.
While Longo’s view that high protein is a short-term weight loss solution is popular, there are now researchers exploring how to make high protein a healthy long-term choice for specific demographics. Inquisitr also adds that in many parts of the world, insects are part of a low fat, high protein and high fiber diet. In the United States, people are not likely to add insects to their diets, but about 80 percent of the world eats insects regularly, especially in Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. At the Calgary Stampede, scorpion pizza, a high protein item for sure, has been added to the daring menu. Before adding crickets and scorpions to their diet, people should look into a balanced diet of protein, fat, and fiber.
[Image courtesy of istockphoto/Boston]