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Higher Red Meat Intake Tied to Worse Imaging Measures of CV Health

MONDAY, April 19, 2021 -- Greater intake of red and processed meat is associated with worse imaging measures of cardiovascular health, including adverse ventricular remodeling, poorer cardiac function, and higher arterial stiffness, according to a study presented at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2021, the annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology, held virtually from April 15 to 17.

Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues used multivariable linear regression models to examine the associations between meat/fish intake and cardiovascular phenotypes in a cohort of 19,408 participants with cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging data. Average daily red and processed meat intake was ascertained using food frequency questionnaires. Oily fish was used as a comparator linked to favorable cardiac health. The analyses were adjusted for confounding variables, including age, sex, deprivation, education, smoking, alcohol, and exercise. The mediating role of cardiometabolic morbidities (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and body mass index) was also investigated.

The researchers found that higher meat intake was associated with adverse ventricular remodeling, poorer cardiac function, and higher arterial stiffness. Better ventricular function and greater arterial compliance were seen in association with higher oily fish intake. In a radiomics analysis, different dietary habits were associated with unique ventricular geometry and myocardial texture.

"This was an observational study and causation cannot be assumed. But in general, it seems sensible to limit intake of red and processed meat for heart health reasons," Raisi-Estabragh said in a statement.

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