When I think of bodybuilding, I picture short-necked, muscle-bound guys spending endless hours at the gym lifting heavy weights and applying spray tans. Well, it turns out that it’s another bodybuilding habit that could be the key to reducing your blood pressure.
Bodybuilders often supplement their diets with whey-based protein powders to help fight fatigue and build muscle. Whey is a concentrated form of dairy protein that’s left over when milk is turned into cheese. It’s high in a number of essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Research at Washington State University has found that beverages supplemented with whey-based protein can significantly reduce high blood pressure. In fact, according to the research that was published in the November 2010 issue of the International Dairy Journal, daily doses of whey resulted in a six-point drop in average blood pressure among a group of volunteers suffering with hypertension.
What’s more, the improvements in blood pressure were seen within the first week of the study and lasted throughout the six-weeks of research!
It turns out that it’s whey’s effect on nitric-oxide (NO) production that may be responsible for its apparent ability to regulate blood pressure. Nitric oxide is a gas the body produces that is essential for healthy blood circulation.
NO helps dilate blood vessels and keeps them flexible, allowing blood to flow freely. You may recall that this is the stuff that’s responsible for producing the blood flow that allows a man to have an erection.
While you should, of course, look to whole unprocessed foods as your primary source of protein if you’re suffering from high blood pressure, or even pre-hypertension, you might want to consider supplementing with whey. Whey powders are very inexpensive (especially when you compare them to pricey prescription drugs), and a reduction in blood pressure similar to what was seen in this study can cause your stroke risk to plummet by 35 to 40 percent!
When choosing a whey-based protein powder, try to find one that’s a protein concentrate made from the milk of grass-fed and hormone-free cows. And if you see that a powder is loaded up with artificial sweeteners and high in carbohydrates, skip it and look for another.