High Protein Foods Boost Cardiovascular Health, as Much as Quitting Smoking or Getting Exercise – Study Says

The health benefits of consuming foods high in amino acids have been known for a long time. Now, a new research performed at the University of East Anglia (UEA) once again confirmed these health properties noting that the effects of some amino acids are equal to quitting cigarettes or increasing training volume.


According to the results of this study, the consumption of certain amino acids that are present both in meat and plant food sources can significantly lower your blood pressure and help with stiff arteries.

Moreover, their health benefits are at the same level as eliminating some of the more common risk factors like reducing the salt, alcohol and nicotine intake or increasing the physical activity.

The results of the study were based on monitoring the cardiovascular health in 2000 women taking seven different amino acid. The data was obtained from TwinsUK, which holds a registry of 12,000 UK based twins used for studying the influence of the genetic code and the environment on age related diseases.

After studying the participants’ diet, the researchers compared the data with the clinical values of blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness.

According to the results published in their study, the markers for blood pressure and blood vessel stiffness were substantially lower in those individuals that consumed the most amino acids.

However, it has to be noted that these results differed in respect of the food sources. Namely, the tendency toward reduced blood pressure was more pronounced in those individuals that took their amino acids from plant sources. On the other hand, the increased intake of amino acids from meat is more beneficial for treating stiff arteries.

According to Dr.Amy Jennings, who was in charge of this research, it  “reveals the protective effect of several amino acids on cardiovascular health”.

“Increasing intake from protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy produce, beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach could be an important and readily achievable way to reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease”, Dr. Jennings says.

While the previous studies offered proofs that increasing the protein intake can lower the blood pressure, this study was aimed at finding out which protein sources were more beneficial in this respect: the animal or plant-based animal sources? Taking this into consideration, the researchers decided to study the separate effect of different aminos coming from meat and vegetables.

“The study included seven amino acids in total: arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine, and tyrosine,” Dr. Jennings explains. “Glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine are found in animal sources. Their increased intake was associated with reduced arterial stiffness. All seven amino acids, and particularly those from plant-based sources, were associated with lower blood pressure”.

Moreover, according to the results, the effect that amino acids have on our blood pressure are comparable to the effects of risk factors such as increased physical activity, salt or alcohol intake. In terms of arterial stiffness, the improvement equalled that of quitting cigarettes.

High blood pressure is considered as one of greatest risks for developing a heart problem. It has been medically proved that the mortality rate associated with stroke and cardiovascular disease can be greatly reduced by lowering the blood pressure. If you want to prevent this condition, or want to treated more naturally, make sure that your diet includes enough meat, fish and legumes.

According to Dr. Jennings, you’d need to consume a daily amount of protein that equals 75g steak, 100g of salmon or a 500ml skimmed milk.

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