DES MOINES, Iowa, June 11, 2015: Adults following the health-promoting DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan to help lower blood pressure can also include nutrient-rich lean pork as the primary source of protein in their diets, according to new research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1
Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork, instead of the typical chicken and fish as their main protein source in the health-promoting DASH diet, they had the same blood pressure benefits regardless of protein source – with systolic blood pressure decreasing around 7 to 8 points and diastolic around 4 to 5 points after six weeks, based on a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.
“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,” said study lead author Dr. Wayne W. Campbell, Nutrition Science Professor at Purdue University. “Many Americans enjoy red meat, so the recommendation to limit red meat in the typical DASH diet could be a potential barrier to adapting this eating plan. Swapping in lean pork could help more people follow this healthful eating plan.”
The DASH diet, one of the best-studied eating approaches, has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can improve health and help lower the risk of chronic diseases. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently included research showing the DASH Diet may have favorable effects on cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart disease, in addition to helping lower blood pressure which impacts nearly 30 percent of Americans.2, 3
About The Research
This study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and 6 men – with elevated blood pressure who were randomly assigned to follow the DASH diet for two six-week periods with either chicken and fish, or lean pork as the major protein source (about 55 percent of their protein intake). The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.
Nutrient-Rich Pork: Part of Healthy Eating Patterns
Lean, nutrient-rich pork is versatile, affordable and accessible for many Americans. Its many beneficial qualities make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet:
• Source of Key Nutrients: Pork is both a good source of protein and also provides several important vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is an “excellent” source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus, and a “good” source of riboflavin, zinc, and potassium.4
• Lean Protein: Today’s pork is 16 percent leaner and 27 percent lower in saturated fat compared to 20 years ago.5 Seven cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for “lean” by containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat.6 Popular pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast.
• Heart-Healthy: Pork is naturally low in sodium and a “good” source of potassium – two nutrients that, when coupled, can help regulate blood pressure. Pork tenderloin is certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association with its heart-check mark, indicating that it contains less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat (and 15 percent or less calories from saturated fat) and 480 milligrams or less of sodium per label serving, among other criteria.
For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit porkandhealth.org.