Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk
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Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and worldwide, according to the NHS. It occurs when the heart’s blood supply gets blocked or interrupted due to the fatty deposits in arteries. Here’s what food is contributing to the development of coronary heart disease and what you could eat instead.
Once you develop coronary heart disease, it can’t be cured and it can even lead to medical emergencies like heart attacks.
Changing your diet and lowering your intake of certain meat may be beneficial, as research shows a link between this food and heart health.
The food boosting your risk of this heart disease by a whopping 18 percent is processed meat.
Research into the connection between processed meat and heart disease was unclear until the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health conducted a large systematic review.
Their research looked at 13 cohort studies consisting of more than one million people.
And the participants were being tracked for up to 30 years.
The final evidence found that each 50 grams of processed meat you eat per day can boost your risk of coronary heart disease by 18 percent, while the same portion of unprocessed red meat increases the risk by nine percent.
The only type of meat not linked to heart disease was poultry, the study reports.
What is processed and red meat?
Processed meat describes meat products altered in some way to preserve or flavour them.
This processing entails anything from salting, curing, smoking to fermenting.
In terms of your shopping, this includes beloved sausages, bacon and ham.
Red meat is a common term used for beef, lamb and pork, the study explains.
The Oxford University study suggests that the reason behind this link between this type of meat and heart disease might be down to the fat and salt content.
This type of meat contains a high amount of saturated fat and salt.
Saturated fat is associated with high cholesterol levels, while salt can raise blood pressure reading, the NHS explains.
Both high cholesterol and blood pressure are risk factors for developing heart disease due to their negative effects on arteries.
What to eat instead?
A diet that is considered as one of the healthiest and includes little to no red meat is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals and grains.
It’s also characterised by a rich use of olive oil, which represents an unsaturated type of fat.
Evidence suggests that swapping saturated fats for unsaturated ones can cut cholesterol levels, the Mayo Clinic explains.
The Mediterranean diet also allows for fish, which might be a healthier meat option compared to red or processed meat.
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