You may have been told to cut down on salt, fat, sugar and other “unhealthy” ingredients to lower your blood pressure.
Instead you’re forced to load your dish with greens and fruits, and maybe take some herbs or supplements.
But there is one ingredient – that may be the key to cure high blood pressure – that till now has almost been completely ignored.
And there’s an 85% or greater chance that you’ll jump up and down with joy reading about loading this popular ingredient into your diet.
According to recent evidence, the sources of protein in your daily diet might be the missing link to preventing and reducing high blood pressure.
And, point-for-point on the blood pressure scale, the amount of benefit obtained from protein is on par with lifestyle factors such as exercise and the DASH diet.
The Protein-Blood Pressure Connection
Your artery walls as well as the muscles that line them and allow them to expand and contract are made of protein. As it turns out, certain amino acids – the building blocks of protein – are more important than others when it comes to building strong arteries.
In a study of 2,000 women, those who consumed more of 7 amino acids known to be heart-protective showed lower blood pressure levels and more flexible arteries than their cohorts who consumed less of the same amino acids.
Scientists found that participants with high vegetable protein diets had lower pressure in the main artery closest to the heart –a useful indicator of how hard the heart has to work to push blood out to the body. By contrast, certain animal-derived amino acids were found to make the arteries more supple.
The bottom-line best diet for healthy blood pressure, according to the researchers, is one that emphasizes lots of plant foods along with moderate amounts of lean meat. So, let’s take a look at the 7 amino acids from the study, how they lower blood pressure, and the foods in which they are found.
A Closer Look at What These 7 Amino Acids Do
Glutamic acid, arginine, cysteine, glycine and histidine all raise levels of nitric oxide, a potent blood vessel dilator.
Cysteine is also a component of the antioxidant glutathione, which decreases oxidative stress on arteries and improves insulin resistance. This keeps arteries healthy and prevents high blood pressure by preventing high blood sugar.
Additionally, glycine contributes to the structure of collagen and elastin – two proteins that make the walls of your arteries flexible and expandable.
Leucine lowers blood pressure by decreasing fat production and increasing muscle mass.
Tyrosine is converted into the nerve-stimulating neurotransmittter epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. Though adrenaline raises blood pressure temporarily, its overall effect is to lower resting blood pressure.
Foods they are Found In
• Glutamic acid – Plant sources of glutamic acid may be even more effective than animal sources at lowering blood pressure. According to one study, a meal containing pea protein resulted in higher nitric oxide levels than a meal based on egg white. Good sources of glutamic acid include salmon, chicken, soy and sesame seeds.
• Arginine – Fish, chicken, mung bean sprouts, chocolate and wheat germ are all excellent sources of arginine.
• Cysteine – Foods high in cysteine include ground mustard seed, cod, soybeans, sunflower seeds and legumes.
• Glycine – Present in fish, meat, beans, nuts and dairy.
• Histidine – Calms the nervous system and puts you in a relaxed mode. Found in high quantities in meats, soy, fish, nuts, whole grains and seeds
• Leucine – This branched-chain amino acid is famously present in whey protein – a byproduct of cheese manufacture – and is a favorite of athletes and people seeking to lose weight. Dairy products, soybeans, beef, pumpkin seeds, tuna and peanuts are good sources of leucine.
• Tyrosine – Good sources of tyrosine include seaweed, egg whites, cottage cheese, turkey and mustard greens.