A high protein diet can help reduce blood pressure – but only if it comes from vegetables, researchers reported.
The findings may explain why some research has suggested that a high protein diet can benefit blood pressure, according to researcher Dr Paul Elliott, of Imperial College, London, UK.
The researchers studied information about 4,680 people from four countries.
Volunteers were studied for three to six weeks, their blood pressure measured and details of their diet recorded.
The findings, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, show no link between animal protein and blood pressure levels.
But consuming vegetable protein, such as soy, led to a reduction in blood pressure.
The researchers believe that amino acids – the building blocks of life – may play a role as they differ between animal and vegetable protein.
High blood pressure is a symptomless condition but creates a high risk of stroke and heart disease.
Dr Elliott and his colleagues write: “Our results are consistent with current recommendations that a diet high in vegetable products be part of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of high blood pressure and related chronic diseases.”