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Diabetes Bites Newsletter

What is Better for Your Cardiovascular health? plant or animal protein?

best protein for heart healthMuch research has been done on heart health. We know that exercise plays a key role as well as nutrient content of the food we eat regularly. With diabetes, we are at higher risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular events just because we live with a faulty pancreas. So, to learn ways we can improve our heart health outside of keeping our glucose levels in check can be an additional tool in our box that doesn’t include extra medication.

Results from a study done by Adventist Health appears to show that intake of plant based protein sources, such as from nuts and seeds, decreases the risk of death from a cardiovascular event. 

This study evaluated the diet of thousands of men and women from 2002 to 2007. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to gather info on the dietary patterns of the participants. They specifically evaluated protein consumption and looked at the deaths that occurred during the follow up time post data collection. 

Results showed more deaths in the group who consumed protein sources from meat versus those who were eating nuts and seeds for protein.  Interestingly, there was no significant association with protein factors from grains, beans/legumes or fruits and veggies as well as no association for processed foods. 

So What can we gain from this?

There is certainly benefit to eating a variety of food.  The nutrients in all the food groups, especially the vegetables and fruits, are good for many other reasons. In regards to diabetes management, they are lower glycemic and overall a wealth of nutrients in a low calorie package. Since we are at higher risk for heart disease due to having diabetes, this study shows a tip to cardiovascular benefit we can use to our benefit. By eating less animal meat protein and more from nuts and seeds we may be able to reduce risk further despite living with diabetes.

Maybe it is time for a Meatless Monday lunch with celery or apple slices and peanut butter!

International Journal of Epidemiology, dyy030, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy030

Marion Tharrey François Mariotti Andrew Mashchak Pierre Barbillon Maud Delattre Gary E Fraser

Published: 02 April 2018

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