Australian Natural Bodz - - Nutrition Knowledge Centre -

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.

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