Battling high blood pressure (HBP)? A scoop of protein could help. A new study has found that greater protein intake—from animal or plant sources—is associated with a lower risk of developing HBP. Published in the American Journal of Hypertension, the study tracked 1,361 people without prevalent HBP, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes for an average of 11.3 years. Researchers discovered that individuals who consumed the most protein (about 100 grams per day) had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and had a 40% less chance of developing HBP in the future. In addition, combining a high-protein diet with more fiber led to a 59% reduction in the risk of HBP.
While this new study was observational, at least one controlled trial has found the same link between protein and blood pressure. In that trial:
Participants who were overweight and had prehypertension or low-grade hypertension took 60 grams of protein from a supplement daily for 4 weeks. The supplement contained both animal (egg, milk) and plant (pea, soy) proteins.
After 4 weeks, systolic blood pressure was 5 points lower in the protein supplement group as compared to the control group.
A 5-point reduction in systolic blood pressure could translate to a 14% reduced risk of stroke and 9% reduced risk of heart disease-related death.
Source: American Journal of Hypertension