Can Protein Intake Reduce Blood Pressure and Improve Cardiovascular Health?
Here at Neat Nutrition, we’re firm believers that our proteins are the best way to supplement your diet and improve your health and fitness. Now, researchers at the University of East Anglia have discovered that they could be as good for you as smoking cessation or doing more exercise!
In a study (Amino Acid Intake Is Inversely Associated with Arterial Stiffness and Central Blood Pressure in Women) published in the Journal of Nutrition, it’s suggested that people who eat lots of specific amino acids (mainly those found in dairy and plant-based protein, such as Neat Nutrition’s) have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
That all sounds fancy and scientific but what does it actually mean?
Your blood pressure is, very simply, the pressure of the blood moving around your vascular system. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your circulatory system. It affects more than 1 in 4 adults and doesn’t always have obvious symptoms. Hypertension is also one of the risk factors for things like heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia.
Arterial stiffness is a generic term for the suppleness of your arteries. The stiffer they are, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around your body. This directly affects your blood pressure as (in basic terms) the harder the blood vessel walls are, the more pressure that’s needed to move the blood and thus, your blood pressure increases. Again, lowering this will have a combined positive effect.
Researchers tested 2,000 women with a healthy BMI, studied the effects of seven key amino acids and concluded that those consuming the highest amounts of these amino acids showed lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
Interestingly, the source of the amino acid had an effect. Those taking more amino acids from animal sources showed lower levels of arterial stiffness while plant-based amino acid intake was associated with lower blood pressure. Here at Neat Nutrition, our standard protein is animal based, sourced from grass fed cows; while our vegan protein is plant based, sourced from pea and hemp.
So what is an amino acid and why are they so important?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, of which 20% of our bodies are constructed from. They make up cells, tissue and muscle and play a part in the function of organs and arteries. They don’t stop there either, because they’re also used in the repair of wounds, tissue and removal of waste deposits. They’re the super heroes of the human body!
With the changing ways in which we produce food for mass markets, including the increase in fertiliser and hormone use – our bodies can’t always make full use of the food we eat.
(All this convenience food is making it harder for our bodies to use food in the correct way, instead storing a lot of what we eat as fat)
Additionally, because of the high levels of processing before we even consume food, a lot of nutritional value has been lost before it even hits our plate. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking can also inhibit our ability to absorb nutrients fully.
Clean eating (avoiding processed foods) and effective supplementation (using Neat Nutrition’s all natural proteins) can help keep amino acids at an optimum level. Check out all of our clean eating recipe ideas that will help you stay fit and healthy!