Whether you’re partial to a plate piled high with crisp, green leaves and decorated with vibrant pops of veggies or prefer a plate adorned with little light pink rivers flowing from a thick, juicy steak, you’re most likely enjoying some source of protein in your meals. But, are your portions measuring up? According to a new study, individuals who eat high levels of specific amino acids, found in meat and vegetables, have lower blood pressures and arterial stiffness.

The researchers studied the effects of seven amino acids on cardiovascular health using sets of twins. They monitored their diets and measured their blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness. The twin who consumed more amino acids had lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

Interestingly, the protein source itself had an impact! A plant-based source (like these 20 Sources of Vegetarian Protein) which contained all seven amino acids, was associated with lower blood pressure, while a carnivorous diet (solely glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine) was linked to lower arterial stiffness. These amino acids also had as much influence on blood pressure as “established lifestyle risk factors such as salt intake, physical activity and alcohol consumption.” Pretty powerful stuff, right?

READ MORE: 6 Healthy Metabolism-Boosting Breakfast Ideas