Can Egg Whites Lower Blood Pressure?
Sunday, 28 April 2013
What if yet another common everyday food could help to lower blood pressure? This is a question that scientists investigated and the initial findings are intriguing. High blood pressure, defined as consistently more than 140/90 mm Hg, is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is the number one risk factor for stroke, affecting an estimated 17.1 percent of all Canadians over the age of 12. High blood pressure affects more than 30 percent of those over the age of 55.
Presenting at the 245th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, study leader Zhipeng Yu, PhD gave evidence from a study showing that a peptide, or smaller protein molecule, in egg whites reduced blood pressure as effectively as a low dose of a common blood pressure medication Catopril; a drug from a class of angiotensin-coverting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
Taking a closer look at the study, a peptide found in egg white called RVPSL, was given to a group of rats that are bred to develop high blood pressure; serving as a high blood pressure model for humans. Of note is the fact that preparation of the peptide which, involved heating the egg white to almost 93 C or 200 F, a temperature that is less than what is needed to cook eggs, didn’t destroy the peptide’s properties. Cooking changes the chemical structure of protein, so there was concern that the peptide, which is found abundantly in raw egg whites, might be altered. This study shows that that egg white protein retains its blood pressure lowering properties when eggs are cooked using traditional cooking methods.
Blood pressure was reduced in rats who received the RVPSL peptide and 50mg worth was as effective as a low 10 mg dose of Captopril. The evidence was so compelling that the next step is to move ahead with human research to see what kind of impact egg white protein will have on reducing blood pressure. One of the pressing research questions is whether or not cooked egg whites, or a standardized supplement of the peptide, can be used alone, or with medication as a way to manage high blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
While it’s too early to say for sure that eating cooked egg whites will have a meaningful impact on high blood pressure in humans, the evidence is compelling. Including eggs as part of a dietary approach to lowering blood pressuring which includes reducing sodium, increasing potassium, magnesium, vitamins C and D, omega-3 fats and eating more nitrate-rich foods like spinach, celery, beets, spinach, radish, and dark lettuce greens, and my favourite, dark chocolate, may prove to be beneficial.
How To Prevent High Blood Pressure
For many people who work full time, healthy living requires effort. Sitting at a desk all day is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle and when your workday is done, you go home to make dinner, do laundry, clean the house, run errands… you get the idea. I recently had a reality check when I tried to do my civic duty and donate blood – except my blood pressure was too high.
Blood pressure measures the pressure your blood puts on the walls of your arteries. Normal blood pressure is below 120 / 80 mm Hg. As one of the main risk factors for atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease (heart and stroke), and chronic kidney disease, it is estimated that about one out of three U.S. adults (31.3%) are affected by high blood pressure. Often labeled ‘the silent killer’, high blood pressure presents no symptoms and sadly one in five people (22.4%) have no idea they have it.
The treatment of choice is anti-hypertensive drug therapy and lifestyle modification. Protecting yourself is as easy as taking a little extra time to integrate small modifications to your daily life.
Maintain a healthy body weight
In the last 25 years, the number of overweight and obese North Americans has increased dramatically. Many studies indicate that body weight is directly associated with high blood pressure. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a ratio of weight-to-height and a good indicator of associated health risks. It is recommended we maintain a BMI of less than 25 kg/m2. If you are overweight or obese, any weight loss (as little as 10%) will lower your blood pressure.
Increase your physical activity
Physical activity can dramatically lower blood pressure and help maintain healthy body weight, but remember to set realistic goals for yourself. If they are measurable and attainable, you can congratulate yourself when you achieve them and stay motivated to reach your next goal.
Find some enjoyable scheduled activities. I am one of those people that love going to an aerobic or yoga class. You simply show up, follow the instructor, and you are done. Easy and fun! Choose a class you enjoy and you will meet people will similar interests or goals who may help keep you motivated.
Make small changes to your daily life: use the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, whenever possible walk instead of driving, and after dinner instead of sitting in front of the television or computer – take a relaxing walk.
Celebrate your success! Surround yourself with a good support group, family and friends can help keep you motivated. Schedule a weekly get together and ‘catch-up’ while you walk to a favorite place.
Eat a balanced diet
Many studies have confirmed the correlation between a healthy diet and healthy blood pressure levels. One diet called DASH, dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is recommended by the American Heart Association and was proven to help maintain a healthy body weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It is available for free online and offers tips and information as well as emphasizing a diet rich in low fat dairy, fruits and vegetables while reducing fat and cholesterol.
Lay off the salt
Blood pressure is negatively affected by salt. Several studies have demonstrated that reducing sodium intake can prevent and manage hypertension.
Reduce the salt: Remove salt from your dinner table and try using half the salt called for in your favorite recipes, then see if you can tell the difference. You can always add it later if you do not like it and if it is not readily available, you are less likely to use it.
Restrict fast food restaurants and pre-packaged foods: These are high in salt and fats, both bad for your weight and your heart health.
Be a smart shopper: Read labels and look for unsalted options for your favorite soups and canned foods. Also, avoid salt-preserved foods like smoked, salted, cured or corned meats.
Look for low sodium alternatives when buying salt: Unpalatable salt substitutes are now a thing of the past, the market has caught up with our need for healthy salt alternatives with many products available to choose from.
Brighten up your dinner plate!
Generally, colorful fruits and vegetables contain higher antioxidant levels, so eat up! Blueberries, pomegranates, cranberries, kale and spinach are all great examples. Fresh is usually best, but fresh frozen is a good alternative when out of season.
For centuries, green tea has been used to treat various ailments and today there are many supplements available to boost your intake. Clinical evidence has shown that (-)-epigallocatechin gallate and other constituents found in tea leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity, which helps reduce blood pressure, lower bad LDL cholesterol and enhance endothelial cell functioning.
Increase your potassium intake
Potassium can be said to be ‘salt opposite’. High levels of dietary potassium are directly linked to low blood pressure. The easiest and best way to increase your intake is to select foods rich in potassium. Bananas, papayas, raisins, broccoli, artichokes and potatoes are all examples of potassium rich good for you foods!
Reduce your alcohol intake
There is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and blood pressure. Adults should consume no more than 14 drinks a week for men and 9 for women. Remember, these numbers are averaged across a week, this does not mean one drink during the week and 8 on Friday night! Since there is a direct relationship between alcohol and blood pressure, any decrease is good for you but keeping within healthy limits will benefit your whole health.
Eat your fiber
Fiber helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving circulation and reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends including fiber in a healthy diet. Experts suggest a daily intake of 25-38g of fiber daily but a typical Western diet only provides about half of that. Supplements are available but you should not rely solely on them. Foods like whole wheat, bran, oatmeal, and fruits & veggies are great sources of fiber. If you do choose to combine a healthy diet and a fiber supplement, read your labels. Many products claim high fiber content but check the actual quantity of fiber per dose to make a smart choice.
Eat mega omega-3s
Evidence demonstrated that consumption of omega-3 from fish oil, fish, or supplements reduces blood pressure and is critical for good health. There are three kinds, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
While all are beneficial the first two, DHA and EPA, are the best bioavailable source. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, sardines and anchovies are great sources. ALA is the vegan-friendly omega-3, but is not as easily utilized by the body, so vegans should consume more to get the same benefits. ALAs can be found in seed oils like those from walnuts, flax and hemp.
Multiple factors influence blood pressure, the best choice for you and your loved ones is to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Love your heart, and it will love you back!
Protein And The Healthy Diet
The word protein has become synonymous with a variety of things in today’s health and wellness world. It has become a staple for the healthy diet, and various foods available in supermarkets tout their “high protein” labels in a bid to convince consumers that their products are not only superior to anything else out there, but a wise choice health wise for them. Truthfully, there claims may not be entirely unwarranted, but lost in the midst of the growing popularity of high protein diets is a cloud of misinformation. Protein is not really a food, but a macronutrient.
Like carbohydrates and fats (which can also be good for you), protein is composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. But what distinguishes protein from fats and carbohydrates is that it has one more element – nitrogen. While the importance of a high protein diet has only come along in the mainstream quite recently, it has always been crucial towards the maintenance of a healthy diet.
The reason that protein is such a crucial part of a healthy diet is because it is integral to not only muscle growth, but muscle repair as well. In the ever expanding field of health and wellness it should now be common knowledge that an exercise program, when combined with a healthy diet is the most effective way of preventing the onset of disease. Because exercise routines can deplete your muscles, consuming protein ensures that they are replenished effectively to not only ensure that you recover, but also that your immune system is maintained. Furthermore, a deficiency in protein essentially means that the body will struggle to make or repair body cells. Because of this, body tissue can break down and release amino acids. This is what produces muscle loss.
How much do I need and how can I get it?
Here’s where things get a little fuzzy. Technically, there really is no one target amount. The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) actually advise a wide range of protein, depending on your lifestyle. For adults, they suggest that 10% to 35% of your daily calories come from a protein source. While we know this intake is important for athletes and active individuals in general, it should also be noted that your protein needs also increase during pregnancy due to the mother’s increased blood volume and breast and uterine tissues.
It’s also quite easy to supplement your meals with additional protein sources. Adding egg whites to your scrambles in the morning, peanuts on top of your salad at lunch, or a grilled chicken breast to your dinner are all excellent low-fat, high-protein sources that should help you get your fill. One of my favourite things to do is finish the night off with a protein shake. Most people think shakes are only suitable for after workouts, but there’s nothing wrong with having a shake randomly throughout the day. I’m fan of a Vega’s protein powders, which are entirely plant based and free of dairy, gluten, and soy.Courtesy:Naturally Savvy
Published: Zarai Media Team