Adults following the well-documented DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan to help lower blood pressure can also include nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein in their diets, according to new research presented this week at the Experimental Biology conference, in San Diego, California.
Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork, instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source they had the same blood pressure benefits regardless of protein source – with systolic blood pressure decreasing around 8 to 9 points and diastolic around 4 to 5 points after six weeks, based on a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.
“The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk to chronic diseases,” said study lead author Dr. Wayne W. Campbell, Nutrition Science Professor at Purdue University. “While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern.”
The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and 6 men – with elevated blood pressure who were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods with either chicken and fish, or lean pork as the major protein source (about 55 percent of their protein intake). The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.