Add this common snack to your diet to help avoid heart attacks, study suggests

Looking for ways to improve your heart health? Munching on nuts and seeds could lower your cardiovascular disease risk, according to a new report.

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Researchers from Loma Linda University in California recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, to determine which foods may contribute to heart disease risk, which can lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrest and stroke.

To do so, they examined data from about 81,000 people, which detailed sources of animal protein, animal fat and other dietary fats.

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After analyzing the results, they found that those who consumed large amounts of meat protein were 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease. On the other hand, people who ate large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds had a 40 percent reduced chance of getting the illness.

"While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk," lead author Gary Fraser said in a statement. "This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods ... This research is suggesting there is more heterogeneity than just the binary categorization of plant protein or animal protein."

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While they weren’t surprised by the results, they said their investigation left further questions.

They now wonder if amino acids in meat proteins play a role in the condition. They also want to explore whether other proteins from particular sources affect cardiac risk factors such as blood lipids, blood pressure and obesity

That’s why they hope to continue their investigations to help create the best diets for those at risk for the heart disease.

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