High-protein diet may lower blood pressure

By Maggie Hennessy

- Last updated on GMT

High-protein diet may lower blood pressure

Related tags Blood pressure High blood pressure Hypertension Nutrition

Despite that people in the West typically get more than enough protein in their daily diets, new research may further validate our collective protein obsession. 

People who eat a high-protein diet have a lower risk of high blood pressure, according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension​.

Researchers from the University of Boston tracked 1,361 healthy, middle aged (30 to 54) men and women for an average of 11.3 years, finding that those who consumed the most protein—about 102 grams per day, from both plant and animal sources—consistently registered the lowest blood pressure. The high-protein group also had a 40% lower risk of developing hypertension over the course of the study, compared to people who consumed the least protein, about 58 grams per day. (For context, 102g protein is the equivalent of about four steaks, five chicken breasts or 10 cans of chickpeas.)

The beneficial effects weren’t limited to the fittest participants, either. The blood pressure of both those considered overweight and those considered “normal” weight benefited from higher protein consumption.

Nor did the type of protein seem to matter; study author Justin Buendia recommended consumers seek a healthy mix of animal- (cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, meat and seafood) and plant-based (beans, nuts, grains and vegetables) protein. 

Indeed, numerous trials in recent years have shown that pea​, whey​, flaxseed​, milk and soy​ protein all demonstrate blood pressure-lowering potential.

The researchers also found that adding fiber to the mix appeared to enhance the blood pressure benefits of protein. Specifically, people in the study who consumed higher amounts of both protein and fiber had a 51% lower risk of high blood pressure than those with lower intakes of both.

Source: The American Journal of Hypertension
PII: hpu157​ [Epub ahead of print]
“Diets Higher in Protein Predict Lower High Blood Pressure Risk in Framingham Offspring Study Adults”
Authors: Buendia JR, Bradlee ML, Singer MR and Moore LL

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