Meat and dairy products can also strengthen heart health

Meat and dairy products can also strengthen heart health

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New international study: Not only healthy vegetarian food

A new international study has shown that not only plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables and nuts are healthy, but also unprocessed meat and milk products. However, health experts point out that these study results should not be viewed as a license for excessive meat consumption.

Plant-based food is good for the heart

Various scientific studies have shown that plant-based nutrition is beneficial for heart health. For example, researchers found that a diet with a high percentage of whole grains and nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease. Mediterranean cuisine with lots of vegetables and certain fruits such as bananas and avocados can also protect against cardiovascular diseases. A new study has now shown that certain non-plant foods can also be good for the heart.

Extend life through unprocessed meat and dairy products

For a long time it was assumed that dairy products were not good for the heart due to the saturated fats.

But scientists from the University of Texas found in a study published a few weeks ago that the consumption of such fats in yogurt, cheese, butter and milk does not lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

Meat consumption is also apparently less problematic than previously thought.

A large, international study has now shown that not only fruit, vegetables and nuts are healthy and prolong life, but also unprocessed meat and milk products.

This is reported by the German Society for Cardiology - Cardiovascular Research e.V. in a communication published by the Science Information Service (idw).

Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates

What heart-healthy nutrition really is often differs from what many think it is, said Prof. Dr. Salim Yusuf from McMaster University in Hamilton (Canada) at the European Congress of Cardiology in Munich.

“For example, our results show that dairy products and meat are healthy and contribute to longevity. That deviates from conventional nutritional recommendations, ”said the expert when presenting the PURE study.

However, Prof. Yusuf pointed out that only unprocessed meat is part of a heart-healthy diet.

In addition, the amount of refined carbohydrates consumed should be limited. Refined carbohydrates have been processed industrially, mostly removing the fiber.

In this way, wholemeal flour becomes white flour and sugar cane or sugar beet becomes table sugar.

Data from 50 countries

To arrive at these results, the scientists analyzed the results of five studies with more than 218,000 participants from over 50 countries on five continents.

After an average follow-up of 9.1 years, there were 6,821 deaths and 5,466 cardiovascular events such as death from cardiovascular disease, non-fatal heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

The aim of the PURE study, which was also published in the specialist journal "The Lancet", is to identify components of a modern and international diet that promotes heart health and longevity.

"Recommendations for a quality diet to prevent cardiovascular disease are often based on studies that were carried out decades ago in high-income countries," said Prof. Yusuf.

So far, there has been little information available on what people around the world eat today and how it affects heart health.

The conclusion of the new study: People with a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, dairy products and meat had the lowest risk of or from dying from cardiovascular disease.

No license for excessive meat consumption

"From a cardiological point of view, these results should not be interpreted as a license for excessive meat consumption - excessive meat and sausage products are expressly discouraged anyway - but as a plea for a balanced diet," commented Prof. Ulf Landmesser (Charité, Berlin) on the study results.

"In this international study, regional differences in nutrition and the availability of food must also be taken into account," said the doctor.

"From the heart medicine perspective, meat consumption tends to be much too high overall in the affluent countries, here a higher proportion of the components of a heart-healthy diet mentioned in the study by Prof. Yusuf should be aimed for: fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish and milk products, whereby in the latter the fat content should not be too high. For example, too much fat cheese is not ideal. "

In any case, the results should not be over-interpreted: "This is an observational study," says Prof. Landmesser.

"These are less meaningful than intervention studies in which the effectiveness of a particular intervention - such as a nutritional intervention - is examined and, for example, compared with a control group without this intervention." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: Meat Eaters and Heart Health with Norrina Allen, PhD (August 2022).