According to a new study, eating more protein can add years to your life — especially if you have heart disease.
But before we get into the details of this recent study, let’s take a look at why protein is so important — especially as we age…
First off, your body needs protein to both build and maintain muscle — including your heart.
But as you age, your body becomes less efficient at using protein. And that’s why older adults actually need to eat more of it than younger people — especially those with a history or high risk of heart disease or heart failure.
Heart disease 101
Heart disease occurs when the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump blood effectively throughout the body. As a result, your bodily tissues don’t get enough blood, oxygen, or nutrients.
And when the heart pump stops functioning efficiently, fluids can back up throughout the body. This condition causes swelling in the legs and fluid back-up in dependent areas like the lungs, resulting in what is known as “congestive heart failure.”
By the age of 70, about one in 10 adults already suffers from chronic heart failure. And mainstream medicine typically treats it with the drug digitalis — originally a European folk botanical remedy from the purple foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
Digitalis does increase the strength of the cardiac muscle contractions. But beware — doubling the therapeutic dose (which isn’t uncommon) can lead to cardiac toxicity.
On the other hand, protein can strengthen the heart muscle and boost heart function without the risk of toxicity.
Plus, as I mentioned above, a new study shows eating more protein can also help you live longer.
More protein linked to longer lifespan in heart disease patients
This study measured daily protein intake from 2,281 patients with heart failure from 11 countries in Europe.
Researchers estimated daily protein intake by measuring excretion of urea in the urine. (Urea is a by-product of nitrogen, commonly found in amino acids from proteins.)
Then, researchers divided patients into four groups based on their estimated protein intake. The low-protein group consumed less than 40 grams of protein per day. The high-protein group consumed more than 70 grams of protein per day.
After an average follow-up period of 21 months, they assessed the mortality rates of each group, and found that:
- Nearly 31 percent of patients in the lowest protein group had died
- Only 18 of patients in the highest protein group had died
After adjusting for confounding factors, researchers found that patients who consumed the lowest amount of protein had an astounding 46 percent higher risk of death than those who consumed the most.
This study shows a strong association between higher dietary protein intake and lower risk of dying from heart failure.
However, in my view, even the participants in the “high” protein group still had woefully low protein intake!
And it’s no wonder…
Government leads us down wrong path
For decades, the government wrongly warned us to avoid high-protein foods like dairy, eggs, meat, and even certain kinds of seafood. And now, Americans are dying in droves from heart disease, while they aren’t getting nearly enough of this critical nutrient.
I suggest you aim to eat between 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight a day. That means a 200 lb man should strive to take in between 90 to 135 grams of protein per day. That’s about 3.2 to 4.8 ounces of protein. (Your weight calculation converts to 2.2 kilograms per pound.)
The only people who should probably watch their protein intake, as I explained in the March 2015 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“The deadly disease often ignored by modern medicine”), are people with kidney disease. People with kidney disease can have issues filtering out phosphorus, an electrolyte commonly higher in many protein-rich foods.
So, go ahead and enjoy some extra protein this week. Choose organic dairy as well as grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and wild-caught fish. Not to mention, just one egg from a free-range chicken contains about 5 to 8 grams of protein.
And speaking of eggs, tomorrow, I’ll tell you about a new study highlighting even more benefits of these perfect foods — so stay tuned!
1. “Heart failure patients with a higher protein intake live longer,” European Society of Cardiology, (www.escardio.org) 5/27/2018