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Protein: Eating a wide variety can reduce the risk of hypertension



Protein: Eating a wide variety can reduce the risk of hypertension


What we eat can have a big impact on our health, especially when it comes to heart health. We often hear advice on balanced diets, such as the Mediterranean diet which increases vegetables, whole grains, while cutting out animal products and sodium. However, a recent study looked at a less discussed element regarding macronutrients that affect our heart health: proteins.

New research suggests that taking in a large variety of proteins can reduce the risk of develop high blood pressure. The researchers looked at nearly 12,200 patients who self-reported their diets for three consecutive days and reported about the food they had in their homes. Researchers referenced initial responses as a basis and questionnaire responses as follow-up.

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Hypertension, consuming more variety of proteins can reduce the risk

Participants were evaluated based on how many protein sources were consumed in eight categories. These protein sources they included whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes. For each source consumed, participants were awarded one point. With an average of six years, the patients were followed up to see if they had developed a new onset hypertension from the initial investigation.

New-onset hypertension was defined as a systolic pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg, or if a physician diagnosed or started treating a participant with high blood pressure. Over 35% of the participants developed early hypertension during follow-ups. Those who ate more protein during the week had 66% less risk of hypertension. Nutrition can be an easily accessible and effective measure to combat hypertension. Along with fats and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients.

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Limit the consumption of processed foods and alcohol

This link between protein and hypertension has never been considered before, but the results are very promising. The message for heart health is that consume a balanced diet with proteins Sourcing from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, can help prevent the development of high blood pressure. In addition to this macronutrient there are other nutrients in these foods that can contribute. For example, legumes also contain fiber, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which can both affect blood pressure levels.

Common causes of hypertension include the consumption of too many processed foods and high alcohol consumption. Blood pressure can also be affected by your family history or other medications we are taking. In addition to using medications there are also other ways to lower blood pressure naturally, changing your lifestyle. Managing stress, sleeping between seven and nine hours a night, and adding 150 minutes of physical activity per week can help ward off high blood pressure.

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