Protein for low blood pressure: study
According to a study published March 10 in the journal Hypertension. Eating more protein-rich foods, such as beans, seafood, and lean meat, can help lower your risk of high blood pressure.
Researchers at South China Medical University analyzed data from 12,117 Chinese adults. Comparing their eating habits with blood pressure over an average of six years of follow-up. Participants were scored based on the number of types of protein sources they ate in randomized self-reported surveys.
Protein sources fall into eight categories: whole grains, refined grains, processed meats, raw meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, and legumes. According to the data, people who ate four or more different protein sources were 66% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate protein from one or two sources.
But overall, more protein is not necessarily healthy, study senior author Dr Xianhui Qin said in a press release. Research shows that people who consume the most and least amount of total protein are more likely to have high blood pressure than those who consume more moderate amounts of protein.
“The heart-healthy message is that a balanced diet with protein from a variety of sources, rather than focusing on just one dietary protein source, can help prevent the development of high blood pressure,” said Qin.
More protein means more nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins.
The main limitation of the current study is that the data are observational, which means they suggest an association but cannot prove that the protein source directly causes or prevents high blood pressure.
However, researchers have suggested that a person may have healthier blood pressure after consuming more protein because different foods contain different micronutrients. For example, different types of proteins contain different essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins that we need for health.
Research shows that eating a variety of foods also helps maintain the microbiome, the beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive system and are important for overall health. Evidence suggests that fiber found in plant-based protein sources such as legumes and whole grains may be particularly beneficial for a healthy microbiome.
Previous research has shown that eating more plant-based foods is good for heart health, including blood pressure. However, animal protein sources like eggs and fish are also good for blood pressure, according to recent research. Fish is a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, and eggs contain important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D. While meat is sometimes malignant because of its potential risk to heart health, studies have found that moderate consumption is good for blood pressure, showing that lean red meat or poultry can be incorporated into a healthy diet.
The researchers also found that eliminating any protein sources did not seem to affect blood pressure results. Suggesting that the overall structure of the diet is more important than a food group.