- A study of more than 81,000 people in North America found that meat protein eaters increased their risk of heart disease two.
- But people who ate nuts and proteins reduced the risk of heart disease and helped their hearts stay healthy.
- It is new evidence that not all protein sources are the same.
Chew more nuts and bite less red meat.
That's the lesson of a new massive multi-year study from North America that found that the type of protein you eat can help or harm your heart's health.
The multi-year long-term study, published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology, analyzed more than 81,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the US. UU And Canada, a group divided equally between vegetarians and carnivores. . Between 2002 and 2007, participants were asked what kind of food they ate on a regular basis, including the amount of meat, nuts, cereals and vegetables they had on their plate. During that time, more than 2,000 adults in the study died, and scientists watched closely how they died and what they ate.
They found a disturbing link between eating even small amounts of red meat and heart problems.
"It's just another perspective of the things we already knew," Gary Fraser, the study's lead author and public health professor at Loma Linda University, told Business Insider. "Red meat is bad for heart disease."
Researchers found that Adventists between the ages of 25 and 44 who ate more protein from meats increased the risk of developing fatal heart disease doubly, while those who consumed more nuts and seeds helped their hearts by decreasing the risk of developing the same fatal heart problems three times. People did not have to eat a lot of red meat to see the harmful effects, or eat a lot of nuts to get benefits.
"A large variety of nuts, which are consumed in small amounts each day, will lower the LDL cholesterol in the blood, the bad cholesterol," said Fraser.
Approximately 10-14 mixed nuts per day is all that is needed. The study sheds new light on the idea that it is not necessarily the fat in nuts that is giving the benefits of our heart, but the protein that really makes walnuts so healthy for the heart. That is especially true for younger adults.
"It's what you eat at 30, 40, 50 years that's really important," Frasier said. The benefits of eating nuts and seeds seemed to decrease with age after that, and they basically disappeared in people older than 80, he said.
But researchers do not think it's necessarily because the elderly do not get benefits from eating nuts. Instead, it could be the case that people who reach the age of 80 or more may be genetically predisposed to do well with more meat on board, while others susceptible to heart problems may already have died before they turn 80. .
Frasier himself says that he has not eaten red meat in about 30 years, and that he is trying to follow a brain-healthy diet.
Why protein is important for the body
For years, we have known that protein is a key component of a balanced diet. Proteins, which are formed by long chains of amino acids, help protect the body from viruses and bacteria, and provide energy to our cells, which helps us grow and stay healthy.
But dietitians think there may be something extra special and useful about the protein we can get from nuts. Nuts have tons of omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for heart health, and hazelnuts, nuts and almonds are also excellent choices, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In addition, nuts that are eaten whole have a decent amount of satiating fiber in them, to help keep you full for hours. Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, previously told the Business Insider that he even brings packets of nut butters and nut-filled bars with him when he travels so as not to crash and eat something bad.
A growing body of evidence that nuts are an excellent food
Other previous research has suggested that when people change foods high in saturated fats such as dairy and meat for more unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, olive oil and fish, actively reduced the risk of developing heart disease and are less likely to die.
But there's also something to be said about eating animals. Animal proteins, such as meat, poultry, dairy products and fish, are typically what we consider "complete" proteins, which provide all the amino acids needed to produce new proteins in our bodies. Vegetables, grains and seeds tend to lack certain specific amino acids, so they are incomplete protein sources when consumed alone.
That does not mean that eating meat is necessarily better for you. Instead, people who do not eat meat or fish should simply be aware of eating a balanced plate of various vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, to make sure they are getting all the essential amino acids needed for the body to repair them. and creates new cells Fraser says that's not hard to do.
"Any combination of whole grains and legumes was completed," he said. "So any type of varied, plant-based diet that a person really wants to eat really takes care of that."
There is still a lot of fat in nuts, so it is important not to go crazy (if you will) and binge all the time. Instead, dieticians suggest thinking of them as a substitute for meat, or a good choice of snack, considering that a serving of nuts is a small handful, or about two tablespoons of nut butter.