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Food and You: Blood Pressure

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 12:16 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Glutamic Acid, Amino Acids, Nutrition, Food And You, Blood Pressure, Heart Disease

An amino acid in vegetables is found to lower blood pressure.
Lentil soup

Veggie Amino Acid



IMAGE SOURCE:  Wiki Media Commons/Lentil soup/ author: Xufanc


Eat your vegetables sounds like grandmas sound advice, but there is new science that backs it.

Researchers have discovered that an amino acid found in vegetable protein appears to lower blood pressure.   The research is published in the journal Circulation.

Glutamic acid is the common amino acid found in vegetables and accounts for 23 percent of vegetable protein and 18 percent of meat protein.  It is found in beans, whole grains, soy products, rice, and bread. 

Participants from an international study showed a 4.72 percent higher intake of glutamic acid correlated with a 1.5 to 3-point reduction in the average systolic blood pressure (when the heart beats) and a 1 to 1.6-point lower diastolic pressure (when the heart rests between beats), reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution

"The fact that the most important amino acid in vegetable protein is related to blood pressure supports the inference that a diet high in vegetable protein and low in animal protein has favorable effects on blood pressure," said Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University.

Dr. Stamler says the number could cut stroke death rates by six percent, and coronary heart disease deaths by four percent. 

The relationship between low blood pressure and higher intake of glutamic acid was seen in the study of 4,680 participants from China, Japan, the UK and U.S. and supports the idea that a diet high in vegetable protein and low in animal protein has a favorable impact on blood pressure. 

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health follows the same thinking with its abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and lean poultry. 

According to Nutrition Data, foods highest in glutamic acid include seaweed, cabbage, tomatoes, asparagus, soy protein and sauce, fish and shellfish, lentil and some meats.  #

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