As recent studies have highlighted the ways that consumers’ food choices may impact their blood pressure, a new study conducted by the American Heart Association looked closely at how protein may affect health outcomes.
According to the findings, eating a variety of different protein sources may help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.
“The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure,” said researcher Dr. Xianhui Qin.
Protein variety improves blood pressure
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 12,200 adults enrolled in the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 through 2015. Participants took the survey every two to four years and reported on everything they ate in three 24-hour periods for each survey. The group also reported on their health outcomes related to blood pressure, including being diagnosed with high blood pressure or being prescribed medication for high blood pressure throughout the survey.
Ultimately, the researchers learned that the variety of proteins the participants consumed played a role in their blood pressure outcomes. Those who regularly ate four or more different kinds of proteins were 66% less likely to develop high blood pressure when compared to those who regularly ate less than two different kinds of protein.
While protein variety was beneficial for blood pressure readings, the quantity of protein consumed played a cautionary role for the participants. Those who ate the largest quantities of protein and those who ate the smallest quantities of protein were at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
The researchers hope these findings encourage consumers to consider their diets and what changes they can make to improve their health outcomes.
“Nutrition may be an easily accessible and effective measure to fight against hypertension,” said Dr. Qi. “Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients.”