Does a Smoothie a Day Keep the Cardiologist Away?

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | May 10, 2018

We’ve all heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If that’s the case, then what can a smoothie do? According to a new study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming whey protein – a popular ingredient in smoothies – may be linked to a healthier heart! Whey protein powder is touted as a convenient and effective way to increase protein consumption in children and elderlies, manage blood sugar levels in diabetes patients, control hunger during weight loss efforts and aid in muscle recovery for athletes. Now, the benefits of whey protein can extend to our tickers.

In the study, 42 people who were diagnosed with pre-hypertension, or borderline high blood pressure, were asked to drink two smoothies per day. The smoothies either contained whey protein, casein protein or no protein at all. The group that was given the whey protein smoothies had the highest reduction not only in blood pressure, but also total cholesterol levels at the end of the study.

In the realm of health and wellness, this study provides further evidence that we should turn to lifestyle behavior before medication when treating risk factors. Medicine plays an imperative role in health and wellness, but lifestyle factors, such as nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and sleep, are the keys to prevention; more and more studies continue to prove this. The study also heightens our awareness of the benefits of high quality protein, whether it’s through whole food options or supplements like whey protein.

Because of the increased popularity of whey protein as a supplement, it became a “buzz” word in marketing food products. The highest quality and most biologically available whey protein powder is whey protein isolate. Many times, you will see whey protein concentrate or a whey protein “proprietary blend”; these do not ensure a high quality product. Look for 100 percent whey protein isolate on all labels when choosing a protein powder. Steer clear of other synthetic ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, and artificial colors and flavorings.

Whey protein is an excellent ingredient to give your daily smoothies and body a healthy boost. So, enjoy those smoothies and keep your ticker beating strong!

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles's profile picture

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/ Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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