High protein foods boost cardiovascular health

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The dietary benefits of eating the right amount of protein are well known, but a new research study indicates how different kinds of protein-rich food sources can have a big impact on our health.

The study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) reveals that people who eat high levels of certain amino acids found in meat and plant-based protein have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness. This is similar to making life style changes such as salt intake, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking.

Researchers investigated the effect of seven amino acids (arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine, and tyrosine) on cardiovascular health among thousands of women with healthy BMI where they studied their diet and compared it to clinical measures of blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness.

They found strong evidence that those who consumed the highest amounts of amino acids had lower measures of blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

Results from previous studies have provided evidence that increased dietary protein may be associated with lower blood pressure,” said Amy Jennings, lead author. But they found food source was important, plant source or animal source. So they looked at the different amino acids found in both meat and vegetables.

The researchers found that higher intake of amino acids from animal sources (glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine) was most strongly associated with lower levels of arterial stiffness, while all seven amino acids result in lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure is one of the most potent risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. So getting the right amount of amino acids from both animal and plant-based sources could very well help you live longer.