Adults following the well-documented Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan can include lean pork to help lower blood pressure.
According to new research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.
“This Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet,” said National Pork Board Karen Richter, a Montgomery, Minn., pork producer. “Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet.”
Lean Pork, Chicken and Fish Help Lower Blood Pressure
The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and six men – all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods. The diets included either chicken and fish, or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake.
After six weeks, the systolic blood pressure of study participants who ate pork dropped eight to nine points and their diastolic number four to five points, which was the same as for those who ate chicken and fish. The blood pressure of participants was consistently checked through a 24-hour monitoring system.
“The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Wayne Campbell, the study’s lead author and Purdue University nutrition science professor. “While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern.”
The DASH diet was developed in research sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without medication. It emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.
“Pork producers work hard to provide consumers with healthy, affordable protein choices,” said Adria Sheil-Brown, manager of nutrition communications and research for the Pork Checkoff. “We’ll continue to spread the message of including lean pork in healthy diets with health professionals through new nutritional materials that they can share with their clients.”
For pork nutrition information and recipes, visit porkandhealth.org.