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Lean Beef Diet can Lower Blood Pressure

Update Date: Jul 09, 2014 02:01 PM EDT

Red meat, such as beef and pork, has received a bad reputation over the years. Based on several studies, researchers have tied red meat to cardiovascular diseases and an increased stroke risk. In a new study, researchers focused specifically on lean beef and found that lean beef can be a part of a heart-healthy diet.

"This research adds to the significant evidence, including work previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef's role in a heart-healthy diet," said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University, reported by Medical Xpress. "This study shows that nutrient-rich lean beef can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet that reduces blood pressure, which can help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease."

For this study, the researchers tested the heart health benefits of eating four different kinds of diets on 36 volunteers between the ages of 30 and 65. The diet plans were the Healthy American Diet, the BOLD+ diet, the BOLD diet and the DASH diet, which consisted of 0.7 ounces, 5.4 ounces, 4.0 ounces and 1.0 ounce of lean beef per day respectively. The Healthy American Diet acted as the control group. The BOLD+ diet, which stands for Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet plus additional protein, is considered to be very similar to the DASH diet.

All of the participants had followed each diet plan for five weeks each at different points throughout the study. There was a one-week break in between each diet. The researchers measured blood pressure at the start and at the end of each diet. The researchers discovered that the BOLD+ diet, which consisted of the highest amount of lean beef, was the most effective diet in reducing participants' blood pressure.

"This evidence suggests that it is the total protein intake-not the type of protein-that is instrumental in reducing blood pressure, as part of a DASH-like dietary pattern," the researchers concluded.
Currently, the DASH eating plan is recommended by the American Heart Association for people who want or need to reduce their blood pressure levels. The diet plan consists of lean beef in combination with fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.

The study was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Institutes of Health.

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