Eating a variety of different proteins may lower risk of hypertension


A new study found that those who consume protein from a greater variety of sources could have a reduced risk of hypertension.

The study was published in the American Health Association journal, Hypertension, and was led by Xianhui Qin, MD of the National Clinical Research Center for Kidney Disease at Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

The study aimed to discover whether the variety of an individual’s sources of protein influence risk of high blood pressure. To do so, a team of researchers analyzed health data of approximately 12,200 adults living in China who had completed multiple rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 to 2015. The survey required each participant to give an in-depth account of their diet over the course of three days. At the end, participants were given a “protein variety score” which measured how often they consumed their protein from eight different sources: whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, egg, and legumes. Researchers compared participants’ variety score to whether they had a new onset of hypertension.

The study’s results showed that 35 percent of the participants developed new onset hypertension during the follow-up. Researchers found that those with a high variety score (four or higher) had a 66 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to participants with a variety score of two or lower. The researchers discovered that for each protein type, there was a certain consumption amount that resulted in a lower risk of hypertension, meaning no one protein resulted in hypertension when eaten in moderation. When researchers considered the total quantity of protein intake, they found that participants who ate the most protein and those who ate the least amount of protein were at the highest risk of new-onset high blood pressure.

"The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure," Qin said in a statement.

This study suggests that a diet consisting of a moderate amount of protein from a variety of different sources may reduce the risk of new-onset hypertension. The study was limited in that it was retrospective and observational, therefore, official conclusions on whether specific protein intake and quality can prevent hypertension, could not be reached.