Obesity, smoking and high blood pressure aren't the only risk factors for heart problems. According to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016 conference, eating a high-protein diet can also cause heart problems - especially in women over 50.
But there's a catch - not all protein is created equal!
Keep reading to learn why higher calibrated total dietary protein is associated with increased risk of heart problems, while vegetable protein appears to protect your heart...
Study finds that women over 50 who eat a high-protein diet are at increased risk of heart problems
To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers behind the study analysed data from self-reported diet information from 103,878 women between ages 50 and 79.
After analysing the data, they observed that the rate of heart failure was significantly higher among women with higher total dietary protein intake.
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“Higher calibrated total dietary protein intake appears to be associated with substantially increased heart failure risk while vegetable protein intake appears to be protective, although additional studies are needed to further explore this potential association,” Mohamad Firas Barbour, study author and internist at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in the USA, reported.
“Our findings should be interpreted with caution, but it appears that following a high-protein diet may increase heart failure risk,” he added.
Researchers tie increased protein intake specifically from meat to increased heart problems like heart failure
The researchers noted that even after they accounted for demographic factors such as age, race, ethnicity, blood pressure
, coronary heart disease
, artery disease, anaemia, atrial fibrillation and level of education, their results remained consistent.
However, they found a strong link between increased protein intake specifically from meat and increased risk of heart failure.
“While a better understanding of dietary risk is still needed, it appears that heart failure among postmenopausal women is not only highly prevalent but preventable by modifying diet,” Barbour reported.
“Heart failure is highly prevalent, especially in post-menopausal women; therefore, a better understanding of nutrition-related factors associated with heart failure is needed,” he concluded.