In this part of series on high blood pressure, I hone in on the types of protein that will help you lower your own levels. The health news that is out there is most clear: non-animal protein is the way to go.
Casein is the name for a family of related phosphoproteins commonly found in about 80% of cow’s milk. The following studies show that it has a blood-pressure-lowering effect.
In one study, 131 individuals with prehypertension or stage-one high blood pressure were given various doses of casein (0, 1.8, 2.5 and 3.6 milligrams [mg]) daily for six weeks. After six weeks, changes in systolic blood pressure in these groups were: 0 (-1.7 mmHg); 1.8 mg (-6.3 mmHg); 2.5 mg (-6.7 mmHg); and 3.6 mg (-10.1 mmHg). However, there were no changes in diastolic blood pressure.
In another study, 70 people with stage-one high blood pressure randomly took either placebo or 3.4 mg of casein a day for eight weeks. Casein lowered systolic blood pressure by 10.5 mmHg, while placebo caused a 3.9-mmHg increase in the other group.
2. Soybean Protein
Another source of vegetable protein has been linked to reduced blood pressure levels. Vegetarians and vegans everywhere will rejoice with the fact that it comes from soybeans.
Here are two key studies:
In one, 302 people at risk of high blood pressure, or with stage one, took either 40 grams (g) of soybean protein a day or placebo for 12 weeks. In the stage-one high blood pressure group given soybean protein, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were lowered by an average of 7.88 mmHg and 5.27 mmHg, respectively. In the prehypertension group, the blood-pressure-lowering effects were less significant. The average drops of systolic and diastolic were 2.34 mmHg and 1.28 mmHg, respectively.
In the second study, 352 individuals had three different treatment groups. One was 40 g of soy protein a day; the second was 40 g of milk protein a day; and the third was placebo, a complex carbohydrate. Over eight weeks, both soy protein and milk protein led to comparable blood-pressure-lowering effects for systolic blood pressure, of 3.2 mmHg and 2.3 mmHg, respectively.
So reach for legumes and not for red meat if you want your protein to lower your blood pressure.
Here are the previous parts of this series: