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Vegetable Protein Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
British study shows health benefits of diet heavy in greens
Jeff Leach (zinjboss)     Print Article 
Published 2006-01-19 11:58 (KST)   
©2006 USDA
People who have a higher intake of protein from vegetables tend to have lower blood pressure, according to a recent British study published in the Jan. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study found that people who ate more vegetable protein were more likely to have lower blood pressure than those who ate less vegetable protein. In contrast to previous research, this study found no link between total protein intake and blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the inside of blood vessels, expressed as a ratio -- for example, 120/80 -- with the first number being the systolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart pushed blood out into the arteries. The second number is the diastolic pressure, the pressure when the heart rests.

Imperial College London researchers collected blood pressure from 4,680 persons, ranging in age from 40 to 59, from four countries including Japan, the People's Republic of China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Over the three-to-six week study, data on food and drink intake as well as urine samples were collected.

While they could not determine exactly how vegetable proteins might influence blood pressure, the researchers said that amino acids (contained in protein) may play a role and that other components of vegetables, such as magnesium, may also interact with amino acids to lower blood pressure.

"Our results are consistent with current recommendations that a diet high in vegetable products be part of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of high blood pressure and related chronic diseases," the study authors wrote.

"Definitive ascertainment of a causal relationship between vegetable protein intake and blood pressure awaits further data from randomized controlled trials, especially regarding the effect of constituent amino acids on blood pressure," they noted.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Jeff Leach

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