Scientists from the Queen Mary University of London found that a greater intake of red and processed meat is linked to worse heart function.
The research was conducted by Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh et al.
Previous studies have shown links between greater red meat consumption and increased risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease.
In this study, the team examined the link between meat consumption and imaging measures of heart health.
The team examined 19,408 participants of the UK Biobank. They focused on associations of self-reported intake of red and processed meat with heart anatomy and function.
The team found that a greater intake of red and processed meat was linked to worse imaging measures of heart health.
Specifically, people with higher meat intake had smaller ventricles, poorer heart function, and stiffer arteries—all markers of worse heart health.
As a comparison, the researchers also tested the links between heart imaging measures and intake of oily fish, which has previously been linked with better heart health.
They found that as the amount of oily fish consumption rose, heart function improved, and arteries were stretchier.
The findings support prior observations linking red and processed meat consumption with heart disease and provide unique insights into links with heart and vascular structure and function.
The team says it is possible that greater red meat intake leads to raised blood cholesterol and this, in turn, causes heart disease.
This study suggests that these four factors do play a role in the links between meat intake and heart health, but they are not the full story.
There is some evidence that red meat alters the gut microbiome, leading to higher levels of certain metabolites in the blood, which have in turn been linked to a greater risk of heart disease.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about why vitamin K is so important for older people, and this snack food may harm your heart rhythm.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about vitamins that may protect you from type 2 diabetes, and results showing this combo therapy can cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by half.
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