How do proteins affect heart health?
People should take care to get enough protein. But researchers have now found that protein from meat is associated with a greatly increased risk of heart disease. Proteins from nuts and seeds, on the other hand, are even beneficial for the human heart.
In their current study, scientists from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California found that protein from meat can lead to heart disease, but protein from nuts and seeds is healthy for the human heart. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Epidemiology".
Certain proteins are healthy for the heart
If people consume a lot of protein from meat, there is a 60 percent increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, if people eat large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is reduced by 40 percent, the scientists report.
Doctors examined data from more than 81,000 subjects
The current study included data from more than 81,000 participants. Detailed sources of animal protein along with animal fat have been examined by the experts. Fats in our food can affect heart disease, say the doctors. But proteins can also have independent effects on this risk, explains Dr. Gary Fraser from Loma Linda University. It has long been believed that eating nuts and seeds protects against heart and vascular disease, while red meat increases the risk, the researcher adds.
Not only fats increase the risk of heart disease
Nutritionists traditionally attribute the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases to unhealthy fats in the meat. However, there is now evidence that proteins could be the cause of the disease. "The new evidence suggests that the overall picture is likely to include the biological effects of proteins in these foods," explains Dr. Fraser in a press release.
Study examined key food sources
The team's research differed significantly from previous research, the authors say. While previous studies analyzed the differences between animal and vegetable proteins, the current study not only looked at these two categories, but also looked at proteins from meat and proteins from nuts and seeds along with other important food sources. “This research suggests that there is more heterogeneity than just the binary categorization of plant protein or animal protein,” explains study author Dr. Fraser.
More research is needed
The results of the study leave some questions open for further investigation. For example, it is interesting how the special amino acids in proteins from meat contribute to cardiovascular diseases. It is also necessary to examine more closely whether proteins from certain sources influence cardiac risk factors such as blood lipids, blood pressure and obesity, which are associated with cardiovascular diseases. (as)