Protein for a healthy heart

Author: Corinne Bett   Date Posted:20 August 2015 

No Whey!? You may have noticed lots of different protein powders, supplements and bars being advertised over the past few years. Protein is currently the ‘it’ girl of the macronutrient diet world. Forget carbohydrates and fat, it’s all about protein-protein-protein!

Leaving all the hype aside, it is in fact actually really important to be consuming enough protein in your diet daily. It can help to contribute to the healthy functioning of our immune and nervous system, to produce the enzymes we need for various biochemical processes, for growth and repair of body tissue and so much more.

Most people think of using protein, and the amino acids which make up protein, for building muscles and in body building, but did you know that the heart is a muscle itself which needs protein to function effectively?

A study published this year assessed 1898 healthy female twins, aged 18 – 75 for their dietary consumption of protein, specifically containing the amino acids arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine, and tyrosine. These amino acids derived from dietary protein are known to be of assistance in cardiovascular health. The study found that those women who had a higher intake of total protein, including the amino acids we just mentioned, had a significant effect on improved measures of blood pressure and also, reduction in arterial stiffness – both of which are important in maintaining good cardiovascular health over the long term.

So next time, choose the fish or chicken over the pasta, and you may well be on your way to a healthy cardiovascular system! The Australian Government recommends adult men consume 64g protein per day, and adult women consume 46g per day. If you are over the age of 70, then as a man you should be consuming 81g protein per day, and as a woman 57g protein per day.  

Written by Corinne Bett

Corinne spent her childhood helping her mother and grandfather in the garden grow various herbs and vegetables. This sparked a great interest in herbal medicine and nutrition in later life, and a passion for a wholefood diet. As a Naturopath today, she likes to empower others to utilise food as medicine, and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In her spare time she like to spend time in nature bushwalking and swimming, adventuring in far and exotic places, and dreaming about what kind of dog she might like to have one day.