Low carb diets may have fallen by the wayside (or at least, aren’t in the news as often), but new research finds that increasing your protein intake—even by as little as 10 percent—could have some seriously healthy effects on your heart. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overweight adults who replaced some of the sugar in their diets with a protein supplement experienced an average 5 point drop in their systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading.
Lead researcher Karianna Teunissen-Beekman (of Maastricht University in the Netherlands) isn’t sure whether the drop can be attributed to increase in protein a person’s diet (up from 15 percent of calories to 25 percent)—or the cutting of carbs—but the net impact is a healthy dip in blood pressure numbers.
“We first want to get more insight into the biological mechanisms by which proteins lower blood pressure, or carbohydrates increase blood pressure, and the role of different protein and carbohydrate sources,” Teunissen-Beekman said.
Some of the top lean protein foods for men include raw, unpasteurized Greek yogurt, quinoa, skinless chicken, grass-fed beef, and pre-cooked chicken sausage.