Heart Disease Prevention and Good Quality Protein

On Aug. 18, 2010 a study reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that females who ate more protein-rich foods(nuts, seeds, fish, beans) in place of red meat had a drastically lower risk of developing heart disease.

When participants consumed more red meat and processed red meat along with high-fat dairy foods increased their risk of heart disease. Women who ate two servings (3 to 4 ounces) per day of red meat compared to those who had half a serving (2 ounces) per day had a 30 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Adam M. Bernstein, M.D., Sc.D  at the Harvard School of Public Health stated “This study showed that making substitutes for red meat or minimizing the amount of red meat in the diet has important health benefits.”

These study results also showed that consuming more servings of poultry, fish and nuts significantly decreased the risk of coronary heart disease.

Below are some finding from the study:

  • 13 percent lower risk with one serving each day of low-fat dairy products
  • 19 percent lower risk with one serving each day of poultry
  • 24 percent lower risk with one serving each day of fish
  • 30 percent lower risk with one serving each day of nuts

“There are good protein-rich sources that do not involve red meat such as nuts, fish seeds, beans, etc.” Bernstein was quoted as saying. “You don’t need to have hot dogs, bologna, hamburger or pastrami, which are all  processed meats.”

This study participants were 84,136 women, 30 to 55 years old, in the Nurses’ Health Study over 26 years, from 1980 to 2006.

The primary findings in the study were non-fatal heart attacks and fatal coronary heart disease, from 1980 up to June 1, 2006. During this period 2,210 non-fatal heart attacks and 952 deaths occurred from coronary heart disease. The study has an important component from other research in the field because the analysis has a 26-year follow-up.

Bernstein said, “Although this study had only women participants, the overall knowledge of risk factors for heart disease point to the findings are likely to apply to men.”

If reducing your risk of heart disease is a goal, you should consider replacing red meat with other protein-rich foods, including fish, low-fat dairy products, beans and nuts.

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