High protein foods boost heart health

High protein foods boost heart health

Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. They are always in the process of being broken down and replaced. The proteins that we get from our diet are converted to amino acids and are used to replace the proteins in our body. This is why it is essential to include good proteins as part of a healthy diet.

Daily intake for protein varies for different groups of people, but in general the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that most Americans choose the equivalent of two to three servings of protein foods each day.

According to new research from the University of East Anglia, high protein foods boost heart health.

The study shows that people who eat certain levels of amino acids and plant proteins have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

The research team investigated the health effects of seven amino acids on heart health of about 2,000 women with a healthy body mass index. The studied the diets of the participants and compared the diets to measures of arterial stiffness and high blood pressure.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#228B22″ class=”” size=”17″]They found significant evidence that the participants with the highest amounts of amino acids in their diets had lower measures of blood pressure and arterial stiffness.[/pullquote]

Lead researcher Dr. Amy Jennings, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, summarized:

This research shows a protective effect of several amino acids on cardiovascular health. Increasing intake from protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy produce, beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach could be an important and readily achievable way to reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Results from previous studies have provided evidence that increased dietary protein may be associated with lower blood pressure. We wanted to know whether protein from animal sources or plant-based sources was more beneficial — so we drilled down and looked at the different amino acids found in both meat and vegetables. We studied seven amino acids — arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine, and tyrosine. Glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine are found in animal sources, and a higher intake was associated with lower levels of arterial stiffness. All seven amino acids, and particularly those from plant-based sources, were associated with lower blood pressure. The really surprising thing that we found is that amino acid intake has as much of an effect on blood pressure as established lifestyle risk factors such as salt intake, physical activity and alcohol consumption. For arterial stiffness, the association was similar to the magnitude of change previously associated with not smoking. High blood pressure is one of the most potent risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. A reduction in blood pressure leads to a reduction in mortality caused by stroke or coronary heart disease — so changing your diet to include more meat, fish, dairy produce and pulses could help both prevent and treat the condition. Beneficial daily amounts equate to a 75g portion of steak, a 100g salmon fillet or a 500ml glass of skimmed milk.”

Some great sources of healthy proteins are chia seeds, eggs, quinoa, nut butters, legumes, beans, and flax seeds.

The study showing that high protein foods boost heart health was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “UEA Research Shows High Protein Foods Boost Cardiovascular Health.” University of East Anglia. University of East Anglia, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
2. “Amino Acid Intake Is Inversely Associated with Arterial Stiffness and Central Blood Pressure in Women.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Journal of Nutrition, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

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