Lean Beef Helps Lower Blood Pressure, Study

First Posted: Jul 18, 2014 02:18 AM EDT

Lean beef is a healthy protein choice, as a new study found that daily consumption of this red meat helps lower blood pressure.

The debate over red meat and its impact on health still continues. The new study led by researchers at the Penn State knocks down the contrary beliefs, claiming that eating lean beef can dramatically reduce the risk factors for heart diseases. The researchers suggest that nutrient-rich lean beef can be included as part of a healthy diet that is known to lower blood pressure, eventually lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

"This research adds to the significant evidence, including work previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef's role in a heart-healthy diet," said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Penn State.

The American Heart Association currently recommends the DASH-eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Those adhering to the DASH diet should consider eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein predominantly from plant sources.

The researchers suggest that lean beef can be enjoyed like predominant protein sources in a DASH-like diet, along with fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, to significantly lower blood pressure in healthy individuals. DASH-like diet is also called BOLD+diet (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet Plus additional protein).

In this study, the effect of four different diets on vascular health was tested. The diet tested include the Healthy American Diet served as the control diet, the BOLD+ diet, the BOLD diet and the DASH diet.

The control diet has 0.7 ounce of lean beef per day. The DASH diet included 1.0 ounce. The Bold diet had 4.0 ounces and the BOLD+diet included 5.4 ounces of lean beef.

The four diets were tested on 36 participants aged between 30-65 years. The participants were made to follow each diet at different times throughout the study period. These subjects were randomly assigned an order to follow each of the four diet plans for five weeks each, with one week break in between each new plan. At the beginning and end of each diet period, the researchers had measured blood pressure.

They noticed that BOLD+ diet was more effective at lowering blood pressure when compared to diets included in the study.

"This evidence suggests that it is the total protein intake -- not the type of protein -- that is instrumental in reducing blood pressure, as part of a DASH-like dietary pattern," the researchers stated.

The study was documented in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

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