Protein is an important part of any healthy diet, and for those looking to maintain or improve their cardiovascular health, understanding protein intake, sources, and its impact on the heart is essential. Protein intake has been shown to have an impact on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other markers of heart health, making it an important factor to consider in any health plan. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of protein intake and cardiovascular health, so you know what to look for when building a heart-healthy diet.
The Benefits of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient in any healthy diet, providing the building blocks for muscle, skin, hair, and other tissues. It’s also an important source of energy. Moreover, higher intake of protein has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, stroke, and other health conditions.
In particular, high-protein diets have been associated with lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, that can raise your risk of heart disease. In addition to lowering cholesterol levels, protein has been linked to a reduced risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and a lower risk of stroke.
Key Protein Sources
Among the best sources of protein are lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts and seeds, and quinoa. These should serve as the main sources in any comprehensive and healthy diet.
In addition, many plant-based diets include sources of protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and peanut butter. These can be great options for those who can’t or choose not to eat animal-based proteins.
It’s important to note, however, that many animal-based proteins are high in saturated fat that can raise bad cholesterol. So if you choose to eat animal-based proteins, you should focus on lean cuts of meat, such as white meat poultry or fish.
Tips for Improving Cardiovascular Health
In addition to the sources of protein listed above, it’s also important to consider other elements of a healthy diet. For instance, consuming plenty of vitamins and minerals such as folate, magnesium, and potassium can be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
In addition, try to include healthy fats in your meals, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Eating these foods can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, while helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Finally, try to get regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise strengthens the heart, and helps reduce cholesterol levels, maintain healthy blood pressure, and reduce stress.
Protein intake is an important factor in heart health, and understanding the sources and benefits of protein can help you make the best decisions when it comes to your diet. Look for lean sources of protein, and supplement them with other nutritious and heart-healthy foods. With these changes, you can help keep your heart healthy for years to come.