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Vegetable protein lowers high blood pressure PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 01 May 2006 00:00

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 65 million American adults — nearly 1 in 3 — have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a dangerous condition that is known as the “silent killer”. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. High blood pressure can also result in other problems, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. 

Epidemiological studies have shown that vegetarians have less high blood pressure compared with meat eaters. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, also know as DASH, recommends a combination diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, low or fat free dairy products and reduces the consumption of red meats, fats, and sweets. 

A recent study in Archives of Internal Medicine, examined over 4,500 persons age 40 to 59 years to examine the effects of vegetable and animal protein on high blood pressure. 

The study’s main finding “was an inverse relationship between individuals’ vegetable protein intake and their blood pressure.” The study also found that there was a significant association between higher animal protein intake and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, after adjusting for height and weight blood pressure association was smaller and nonsignificant.

To explain this difference the authors note that there were significant differences in the amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. These differences possibly contribute to the differences between vegetable and animal proteins. Also, other components found along with vegetable proteins, such as magnesium, may interact with the amino acids to lower blood pressure. 

The authors conclude, “our results are consistent with current recommendations that a diet high in vegetable products be part of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of high blood pressure and related chronic diseases.”

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, January 2006


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