Red and Processed Meats Increase Risk for Heart Attacks

The Physicians Committee

Red and Processed Meats Increase Risk for Heart Attacks

October 30, 2017

Red and processed meat products increase the risk for heart attacks among Hispanic/Latino populations, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers compared the diets of 2,131 participants from the Costa Rica Heart Study who survived a prior heart attack with control participants. Those with the highest intakes of red and processed meats increased their risk for a non-fatal heart attack. One serving of red meat per day elevated the risk by 31 percent, while five servings of processed meats in a week increased the risk by 29 percent, compared with the fewest servings. Researchers suspect high levels of iron, nitrates, and sodium in red and processed meats contribute to oxidative stress linked to atherosclerosis and other heart-related conditions. The authors caution that, as meat intake increases in Hispanic/Latino countries, a rise in cardiovascular disease rates may follow.

Wang D, Campos H, Baylin A. Red meat intake is positively associated with non-fatal acute myocardial infarction in the Costa Rica Heart Study. Br J Nutr. 2017;118:303-311.

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