I don't usually tell you to eat fried foods, but there's one fried food that may be your ideal breakfast. In fact, it may even lower your blood pressure.
A study presented to the American Chemical Society (ACS) found that a peptide in egg whites can lower blood pressure as much as low doses of blood pressure medication like Captopril. Both the egg whites and Captopril are ACE inhibitors - enzymes that block a substance that raises blood pressure.
This peptide in eggs is RSVPSL. It's one of the building blocks of proteins. Scientists knew this peptide blocked ACE, which is why several pharmaceutical companies use the peptide in their blood pressure medications. But they wanted to find out if there was a natural way to reap the benefits of this substance.
Since RSVPSL is in egg whites, researchers fed a highly heated version to rats to gauge their response. The findings were encouraging. The substance did indeed lower blood pressure by amounts comparable to Captopril. And it did so without any toxic side effects. Since the findings were so positive, the team plans to continue investigating the effect the peptide could have on human health.
One area they'll be looking into is the temperature you should cook the egg whites to. For this particular study, the researchers cooked the egg whites at far higher temperatures than humans would typically cook their breakfasts. But other studies have found that pan-fried egg whites cooked at high temperatures do reduce blood pressure better than boiled egg whites.
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Researchers believe that egg-white peptides, whether in egg or supplement form, may become useful in the future to help treat high blood pressure. For now, talk to your doctor about changing your diet to include egg whites. And make sure you ask your doctor about any changes to your medication.
These studies used rats, not humans. So it's still too early to know if this peptide will have a noticeable impact on your health. Still, eggs can be a great food choice - they're low in calories and rich in protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. So even if they don't lower your blood pressure, they can still be part of a healthful diet. Feel free to pan-fry them in olive oil or a little butter (not margarine or Crisco). And make sure you leave the salt out. A high-sodium diet can contribute to high blood pressure. Make sure you aren't creating the very problem you're trying to avoid!
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), April 9, 2013.