Red meat often gets a bad reputation but a growing body of evidence shows that eating lean beef can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. Recent research at Penn State demonstrated that lean beef may play a role in helping to reduce blood pressure.
"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 Penn State.
According to the research which was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension lean beef can be part of the predominant protein source in a diet along with fruits vegetables and low-fat dairy to effectively lower blood pressure in healthy individuals. Researchers tested four diets to determine the effects on vascular health. The diets included the Healthy American Diet (the control) the BOLD+ diet the BOLD diet and the DASH diet.
The control diet consisted of 0.7 ounces of lean beef per day while the DASH diet included 1.0 ounce. The BOLD diet had 4.0 ounces and the BOLD+ diet included 5.4 ounces of lean beef.
These four diets were tested on 36 participants with ages ranging from 30 and 65. All participants followed each diet at different times throughout the study period. Participants were randomly assigned to follow each of the four diet plans for five weeks each (in a particular order) with a break of one week in between each new plan. Blood pressure was taken at the beginning and end of each diet period.
The results showed that the BOLD+ diet was more effective at lowering blood pressure compared to the other diets.
According to the researchers "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."
Effects of a DASH-like diet containing lean beef on vascular health. Roussell MA Hill AM Gaugler TL West SG Ulbrecht JS Vanden Heuvel JP Gillies PJ Kris-Etherton PM. J Hum Hypertens. 2014 Jun 19. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2014.34. [Epub ahead of print]