Protein is an essential part of our diet as it aids in muscle and tissue repair, provides specific immune defense and keeps us energized. Furthermore, a new study has revealed that high protein foods can also boost cardiovascular health.
The research was done by the University of East Anglia where researchers suggest high protein foods are as good for our heart as quitting smoking or boosting exercise. The findings revealed those who consumed high protein foods – meat and plant-based – have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
Researchers examined the effects of seven amino acids on cardiovascular health among 2,000 women with a healthy body mass index (BMI). They examined the women’s diets and compared them to clinical measures of blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness.
The evidence suggested those who consumed high protein foods – more from plant-based sources – have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
High blood pressure affects roughly 70 millions Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only a little more than half of these individuals have their blood pressure under control. If high protein food is a viable means to help lower blood pressure, it could help more Americans control their hypertension and many more prevent it all together.
Protein and heart health
The American Heart Association (ASA) suggests, although protein is good for us, many of us are receiving too much of it in meat form. When protein comes from a meat source it also contains saturated fat which contributes to the cholesterol that is bad for heart health. It wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem if only we would consume more fruits and vegetables. Instead we opt for burgers and steaks and pair them with bread, potatoes or gravy.
The CDC suggests throughout the day only 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories should come from protein – you can see those numbers aren’t very high.
Although our hearts do require protein, you must ensure they are from sources which won’t add stress on the heart by raising blood pressure or cholesterol. It has been shown that red meat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease; however, fish and poultry can be beneficial.
Top foods that are high in protein
If you want a better heart, limit your intake of protein from red meat and stick with these foods which are high in protein and can offer benefits to your heart and overall health.
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Swiss cheese
- 2% milk
- Soy milk
- Steak – in moderation
- 95% lean ground-beef
- Pork chops
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Yellowfin tuna
- Sockeye salmon
- Corned beef
- Navy beans
- Dried lentils
- Roast beef
- Canadian bacon
- Peanut butter
Some tips for better heart health
Aside from diet, there are other means to promote better heart health. If you follow these tips, you can ensure a stronger, better, more healthy heart.
- Know your numbers – what are your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers? Are they high? Should you be lowering them?
- Get most of your protein from plant-sources like nuts
- Reduce stress – go for a walk, meditate, seek therapy
- Have strong social support
- Quit smoking
- Drink alcohol in moderation – preferably red wine
- Exercise – weight training in particular
- Reduce sodium intake
- Get quality sleep as well as quantity
Your heart plays an important role in your body; therefore, you want to do as much as you can to keep it ticking for as long as possible. With a good diet and lifestyle habits you can improve your heart health and keep moving forward.