While eating red meat that is rich in protein is linked with increased risk of heart disease, protein from nuts and seeds could be beneficial for the human heart, suggests a study including more than 80,000 participants.
The study, appearing in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that people who consumed large amounts of meat protein experienced a 60 per cent increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD), while people who consumed large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds experienced a 40-per cent reduction
“While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk,” said Gary Fraser, from Loma Linda University in California.
Fraser added that nutritionists have traditionally looked toward what he termed “bad fats” in meats and “helpful fats” in nuts and seeds as causal agents.
As a result of being high in unsaturated fat, nuts and seeds are traditionally included in the “good fat” category. However, it is also possible that “good protein” that also adds to their positive health impact.
“This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods,” he said.