High blood pressure: A protein-rich diet could slash risk of the condition by 66 percent

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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Protein – a macronutrient – is needed for growth, repair and maintenance of the body. The British Nutrition Foundation continued: “Our protein needs change across the life course.” The energy source is made up of a long chain of amino acids, with animal proteins having a “higher biological value” than plants. This is because “the pattern of amino acids in animal cells is similar to human cells”.

Therefore, protein from animal sources contain the full range of amino acids required for a human diet.

Meanwhile, most plant foods do not provide all of the essential amino acids in “significant” quantities.

Research most recently published in the journal Hypertension found that those who consumed a wider range of protein benefitted from lower blood pressure readings.

Printed on March 10, 2022, the researchers analysed the diets of 12,177 adults who had new-onset hypertension.

Information was collated on three consecutive 24-hour dietary recalls combined with a household foods inventory.

Protein sources included:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Red meat
  • Processed red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Refined grains
  • Legumes.

The health of the participants were then followed up around six years later.

Data obtained from the China Health and Nutrition Survey revealed that those who ate four or more protein-packed foods were 66 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure later on in the study.

While it may seem that vegans and vegetarians could be missing out on their protein needs, the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) states otherwise.

“It is now understood that protein from a variety of plant foods, eaten during a day, supplies enough of all the essential amino acids when caloric requirements are met,” the BNF made clear.

Protein is the second most abundant component in the body and the macronutrient found in muscles, the blood, and skin.

The BNF elaborated: “When protein is consumed it is metabolised into amino acids and the body contains a pool of amino acids which are used to synthesise any proteins which are needed.”

The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) is 0.75g of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day for adults.

Thus, men over the age of 50 are required 53.3g of protein daily whereas women in the same age bracket require 46.5g.

While less protein is needed for women under the age of 50 (45g), men require more (55.5g).

In the UK, most people are exceeding the daily protein requirements, with an average person consuming 76g daily.

Blood pressure

Aside from eating a well-balanced, varied diet that includes a variety of protein, there are other ways to bring down blood pressure readings.

Remaining with the diet aspect, limiting salt and minimising alcohol intake will help.

As confirmed by the NHS, regular exercise is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure reading.

People are encouraged to get their heart pumping for at least 150 minutes each week.

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