Posted on Aug 23, 2010, 6 a.m.
Women who substitute fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, and nuts in place of red meat significantly slash their risks of heart disease.
Previous studies have linked consumption of red meat to increased risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Adam M. Bernstein, from Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues studied data collected on 84,136 women, ages30 to 55 years, enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. The team examined the medical history and lifestyles of these women, including dietary habits, and tracked the incidence of non-fatal heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease, for a 26-year follow-up period. The researchers found that women who consumed two servings per day of red meat, as compared to those who had a half a serving per day, were at a 30% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. The data also showed that eating more servings of poultry, fish and nuts was significantly associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Compared to one serving each day of red meat, women who substituted other protein-rich foods experienced significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease:
• 30% lower risk with one serving each day of nuts
• 24% lower risk with one serving each day of fish
• 19% lower risk with one serving each day of poultry
• 13% lower risk with one serving each day of low-fat dairy products
Urging that substitutions for in the diet results with important health benefits, the team concludes that: “These data suggest that high red meat intake increases risk of [coronary heart disease] and that [coronary heart disease] risk may be reduced importantly by shifting sources of protein in the US diet.”
Adam M. Bernstein, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, Meir J. Stampfer, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett. “Major Dietary Protein Sources and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women.” Circulation, Aug 2010; doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.915165.