Diets higher in protein predict lower high blood pressure risk in Framingham Offspring Study adults

Am J Hypertens. 2015 Mar;28(3):372-9. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu157. Epub 2014 Sep 6.


Background: Short-term clinical trials suggest that dietary protein lowers blood pressure (BP); however, long-term effects of total, animal, and plant proteins are less clear. Our goal was to evaluate effects of these dietary proteins on mean systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) and incident high BP (HBP) risk among middle-aged adults in the Framingham Offspring Study.

Methods: Men and women (aged 30-54 years) without prevalent HBP, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes with 3-day dietary records from exams 3 or 5 (n = 1,361) were included and followed for a mean of 11.3 years for development of HBP. Protein intakes adjusted for body size were derived using the residual method. Analysis of covariance and Cox proportional hazard's models were used to adjust for age, sex, education, height, activity, smoking, fat calories, diet quality, and body mass index.

Results: Higher protein intakes were associated with lower mean SBP and DBP. Both animal and plant proteins lowered BP and led to statistically significant reductions in HBP risk (hazard ratios of 0.68 and 0.51, respectively). Participants in the highest tertile of total protein intake had 40% less risk (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45-0.78) of developing HBP. Beneficial effects of protein were apparent for men and women and for normal-weight and overweight individuals. Higher protein diets also characterized by higher fiber intakes led to a 59% reduction (95% CI, 0.37-0.66) in HBP risk.

Conclusions: Adults consuming more dietary protein from either plant or animal sources had lower long-term risks of HBP.

Keywords: blood pressure; diet patterns; hypertension; protein..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged


  • Dietary Proteins