Whey protein is a safe, cheap way to lower high blood pressure, and significantly, at that. This means the secondary effect of cutting stroke and heart disease risk, since high blood pressure is a big risk factor for the latter.
A recent study out of Washington State University has found that daily consumption of whey protein resulted in at least a 6-point reduction in average blood pressure of women and men who had pre-existing high blood pressure.
Though the 71 study participants were between 18 and 26 years old, the study’s leader, Susan Fluegal, says that older people with high blood pressure would probably get similar benefits from the whey protein. The study report is in the International Dairy Journal. Whey protein is low-cost, and has not been linked to any adverse effects, says Fluegal, who is a nutritional biochemistry instructor.
So how long did it take improvements in high blood pressure by eating whey protein to take place? In this study, results showed up in the first week, and they lasted for the study’s six-week duration. However, there were no results for study participants who had pre-existing normal blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer,” as it typically does not present with any symptoms.
However, it is strongly correlated with stroke risk, as well as risk of heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer. And nearly 800,000 Americans every year suffer from a stroke, the leading cause of adult disability. Whey protein isn’t just the stuff of bodybuilders. Whey protein comes in different flavors, mainly chocolate and vanilla, and in many different varieties with varying degrees of carbohydrate counts.
Whey protein can also be found in protein bars, though keep in mind that Fluegal’s study used whey protein in the form of a beverage.
Risk factors for high blood pressure are the following: age, black race, family history, obesity or overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, a high sodium (salt) diet, inadequate potassium and vitamin D, heavy drinking, and emotional stress. High blood pressure can also lead to an aneurysm , heart failure, kidney problems, vision loss, metabolic syndrome (which can lead to type 2 diabetes) and memory problems.
In addition to eating whey protein to lower high blood pressure, you can implement other natural approaches, such as lowering salt/sodium intake, cutting back on saturated fat, eating more potassium, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising, losing weight, quitting smoking and managing emotional stress.