MAY HELP LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
One of the most common risk factors of stroke and an accelerator of multiple forms of heart disease, especially when paired with excess body weight, high blood pressure ( hypertension) is a leading chronic health concern worldwide. Lynn Moore, from Boston University School of Medicine ( Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues report that a diet rich in protein foods may help to lower elevated blood pressure. The researchers analyzed protein intakes of healthy participants from the Framingham Offspring Study and followed them for development of high blood pressure over an 11-year period. Data revealed that those adults who consumed more protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had statistically significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of followup. In general, these beneficial effects were evident for both overweight ( at/ over 25 kg/ m2 BMI) and normal weight ( at/ less than 25 kg/ m2 BMI) individuals. The investigators also found that consuming more dietary protein also was associated with lower long- term risks for high blood pressure. When the diet also was characterized by higher intakes of fiber, higher protein intakes led to 40– 60% reductions in risk. Observing that: “Higher protein intakes were associated with lower mean [ systolic blood pressure] and [ diastolic blood pressure],” the study authors conclude that: “Adults consuming more dietary protein from either plant or animal sources had lower long- term risks of [ high blood pressure].” Athletes who take a portion of cocoa two hours before training or a competition reduce the impact of their exertions on their heart and blood vessels. That’s the message reading between the lines of a human study carried out by nutritionists at the University of South Australia, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The phenols in cocoa make the blood vessels more supple and reduce the increase in blood pressure that occurs with physical exercise. Try adding a teaspoon of pure cocoa powder to your morning coffee.