Protein is one of the key components of a healthy diet, as Shaun Clayton, a certified nutritionist and Operations and Finance Director at the PHA UK, explains…

When it comes to managing our weight and overseeing conditions like pulmonary hypertension (PH), our diet plays a pivotal role. Among the nutrients we consume, protein stands out for its profound impact on our health. This article explores the significance of protein in our diet, how it aids in weight management, supports individuals with PH, and the role of other dietary components such as carbohydrates, dietary fats, and supplements like creatine.

Understanding the role of protein

Protein, a key building block of life, is essential for repairing cells, making new ones, and supporting muscle health. Its importance in weight management is twofold: protein-rich foods keep us feeling fuller for longer, reducing the temptation to snack, and they increase our metabolic rate, meaning our bodies burn energy more efficiently.

For individuals with pulmonary hypertension, maintaining optimal nutrition is crucial. Protein can support muscle strength and energy levels, aspects particularly important for those with PH, where fatigue and muscle weakness are common symptoms.

The best sources of protein

While protein can be found in a variety of foods, natural sources are often recommended for their additional nutritional benefits. Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes (peas, beans etc,), and nuts are excellent sources of high-quality protein. These foods not only provide protein but also essential vitamins and minerals.

However, there are situations where eating enough protein through food alone can be challenging, particularly for individuals managing weight or health conditions like PH. This is where protein shakes and supplements can be a useful tool. They offer a convenient and efficient way to ensure adequate protein intake.

Protein intake: What should you aim for?

This is a very individual question depending on your goals. For most individuals with PH, muscle maintenance and general wellbeing are the aims. The rule of thumb when it comes to this is to use a simple equation to work out your daily requirement of protein. That equation is, take your bodyweight in kilograms and using a calculator, times that number by 1.2 and press equals – this will give you a number. That number is your daily requirement of protein in grams.

Whilst consuming this would be optimal, making efforts to get as close to it as possible for many is very good and all you need to do. My advice is to try to consume some protein with each meal. Eggs in the morning, chicken for lunch,  and salmon for dinner etc.

Beyond protein: A balanced diet

While protein is vital, a balanced diet also includes carbohydrates and dietary fats – each playing unique roles in our health. Carbohydrates are our main energy source, crucial for fuelling daily activities and exercise routines. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are excellent carbohydrate sources, offering fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Dietary fats are equally important, especially unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, and fish, supporting heart health and reducing inflammation. For those with PH, a diet low in saturated fat and salt can help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Supplementing with creatine

Beyond protein supplements, creatine is another supplement gaining attention for its health benefits, including improving exercise performance and muscle strength. This can be particularly beneficial for weight management and supporting individuals with PH in maintaining muscle strength and function.


Protein plays a crucial role in weight management and supporting individuals with health conditions like pulmonary hypertension. By choosing natural sources of protein and supplementing wisely, individuals can support their health goals effectively. However, a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates and healthy fats, along with supplements like creatine, can further enhance wellbeing and quality of life.

Remember, when making significant changes to your diet or exercise regime, especially when managing a condition like PH, consulting with healthcare professionals is essential. They can provide tailored advice that considers your specific health needs and circumstances.