Eating less meat and dairy could lower your risk of heart disease

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Why This Matters

Heart disease is a big deal; it’s a leading cause of death worldwide. We’ve all heard that exercise and eating right can make a difference, but what does “eating right” really mean?

A recent study by Penn State University researchers sheds some light on this. They found that reducing sulfur amino acids, mainly found in protein-rich foods like meat, dairy, and nuts, could lower the risk of heart disease.

What the Study Tells Us

The scientists looked at over 11,000 people and what they ate. They also took blood samples to check for things that might show a higher risk of heart disease and other problems like high blood sugar.

What they found is pretty interesting: people who ate fewer foods high in sulfur amino acids had lower risk levels for heart disease.

If you’re wondering what amino acids are, they’re basically the parts that make up proteins.

Some of these, known as sulfur amino acids, have been shown in animal studies to affect how long you live. This new research suggests they might also play a role in heart disease in humans.

The average American eats way more of these sulfur amino acids than they actually need—almost 2.5 times more!

This is a big deal because higher levels were directly related to higher risks of heart and metabolic diseases, according to the study.

So, what should you eat if you’re trying to cut back on sulfur amino acids? Here’s an example for someone who weighs around 132 pounds:

  • A medium slice of bread
  • Half an avocado
  • An egg
  • A half cup of raw cabbage
  • Six cherry tomatoes
  • Two ounces of chicken breast
  • A cup of brown rice
  • Three-quarters of a cup of zucchini
  • Three tablespoons of butter
  • A cup of spinach
  • A medium apple
  • An eight-inch diameter pizza
  • A tablespoon of almonds

What Does This Mean for You?

The study suggests that Americans might be eating too many sulfur amino acids mainly because of our diet, which often includes a lot of meat and dairy products. And guess what?

These amino acids were found in every type of food except grains, vegetables, and fruit. So if you’re concerned about heart disease, adding more of these foods to your diet could be a good step.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up all protein; it’s more about balance and being mindful of your choices.

And remember, this study shows an association, not a guarantee. Still, given that we’ve known for a long time that diets high in fruits, grains, and vegetables are good for you, this is another reason to consider eating more of them.

Other Tips for a Healthy Heart

If you want more pointers on how to keep your heart in good shape, other studies have shown that eating eggs can actually be beneficial for heart health.

Vitamin K2 is also suggested to reduce the risk of heart disease. And outside of the diet, olive oil has been linked to longer life, while vitamin C may reduce the risk of heart failure.

So, the takeaway? Eating more plants and fewer animal-based foods could be a simple way to protect your heart. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a healthy heart?

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