High Blood Pressure
Every time your heart beats, blood is pumped into your blood vessels (arteries), carrying it from the heart to all parts of your body. As this happens, the force of blood being pushed against the walls of the arteries creates what we know as “blood pressure”. The greater the force, the harder it is for our hearts to pump our blood around our bodies, leading to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure puts your heart, brain and kidneys at risk and is a major risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure is the fourth leading risk factor for disease burden in Australia with more than 5% of total burden of disease caused by high blood pressure in 2018.
Vasodilation and Blood Pressure
In order for our bodies to regulate its blood pressure, a process called vasodilation occurs. Vasodilation is the process by which our bodies increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure. It involves relaxation of the muscular walls of our blood vessels which, in turn, widens the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow through our bodies more easily. This commonly occurs when we exercise, in order to increase the oxygen supply and blood flow to our muscles.
L-arginine and Vasodilation
An important contributor to the process of vasodilation is L-arginine (or arginine). L-arginine is a substance that is important to the process of vasodilation. It is the physiological precursor of nitric oxide, an important mediator of vasodilation.
Australian Sweet Lupins and L-arginine
Australian sweet lupins are an excellent source of L-arginine. This makes them a great addition to our diets, particularly those with hypertension (high blood pressure), due to L-arginines positive impact on blood pressure thanks to its’ ability to support vasodilation.
In comparison to other high protein foods, such as chicken and turkey, the amino acid profile of Australian sweet lupins displays superior levels of L-arginine. Chicken thigh contains 1.615g of L-arginine per 100g while turkey breast contains 1.244g of L-arginine per 100g. Australian sweet lupins certainly surpass these levels with 4.80g of L-arginine per 100g.
A diet rich in lupin kernel flour has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Australian sweet lupins are filled with polyphenols and protein alongside L-arginine, providing positive effects on oxidative stress and vascular function which can influence blood pressure.
Another excellent vasodilator known for its’ cardiovascular benefits is beetroot, due to its nitrate content which converts to nitric oxide – the aforementioned mediator of vasodilation which L-arginine is the physiological precursor to. The Lupin Co. have recently launched their protein pasta spirals with beetroot – an excellent way to combine these heart-loving ingredients.
Vasodilation is also utilised during exercise in order to meet increased oxygen demands of the muscles in our bodies. Vasodilation allows this to happen by increasing the blood flow to said muscles. L-arginine is claimed to be beneficial during and post exercise due to its ability to support nitric oxide production in our muscles during exercise. This in turn promotes vasodilation and improved strength, power and muscular recovery.
Try The Lupin Co. protein bars and Lupinola alongside your exercise regime to support your vascular health with a nutritious snack that is also high in fibre and protein!