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Nuts, seed proteins more heart healthy than meat

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — People consuming nuts and seeds have a lower risk of heart disease than those mostly eating meat, according to a study conducted in the United States and France.

Researchers from Loma Linda University School in California, and AgroParisTech and the Institute of National Agronomic Research in Paris, have found that meat protein is associated with a sharp increased risk of heart disease while protein from nuts and seeds is beneficial for the human heart.

Red meat increases heart disease risk by 60 percent while food proteins — nuts and seeds — cause a 40 percent reduction to risk, the findings published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology said.

“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,” said Dr. Gary Fraser, from Loma Linda’s School of Public Health in a press release.

“This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods.”

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The study examined 81,337 Seventh-day Adventists, a group that is about evenly split between vegetarians and meat-eaters, from 2002 to 2007. The men and women, between age 25 and 44, were asked what kinds of food they eat on a regular basis, including the amount of meat, nuts, grains and veggies.

“A wide variety of nuts, eaten in small quantities each day, will lower blood LDL cholesterol — the bad cholesterol,” Fraser told Business Insider. The difference, he said, is 10 to 14 mixed nuts a day.

The researchers during the nine-year followup period, closely examined what the participants ate, as well as details of 2,276 deaths among participants credited to cardiovascular causes.

Fraser said that nutritionists considered ‘bad fats’ in meats and ‘helpful fats’ in nuts and seeds, and said the researchers had always suspected it made a difference what kind of protein people consumed.

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The researchers, however, didn’t just examine the differences between animal and plant proteins, they also looked at other dietary sources, they said. The researchers found no significant associations for grains, processed foods, legumes, fruit and vegetables among protein factors.

“Associations between the ‘meat’ and ‘nuts and seeds’ protein factors and cardiovascular outcomes were strong and could not be ascribed to other associated nutrients considered to be important for cardiovascular health,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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Excess use of social media may lead to depression and loneliness

Raghu Kshitiz

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Excessive use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram could lead to depression and loneliness as this habit is associated with poor well-being,researchers have warned.

A new study, being published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that limiting screen time on these apps could boost one’s wellness.

The study has tried to look into the causal side of things, and see whether people may actually feel better when they cut down on social media.

“Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being,” the authors concluded.

“When you are not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you are actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life,” said Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

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For the study, researchers from the varsity, included 143 undergraduate participants. The team designed their experiment to include the three platforms most popular with the participants.

They monitored the students for a week to get a baseline reading of their social media use, and gave them questionnaires that assessed their well-being according to seven different factors: social support, fear of missing out (aka FOMO), loneliness, autonomy and self-acceptance (a measure of psychological well-being), anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

They collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running in the background, and asked respondents to complete a survey to determine mood and well-being.

“Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study,” Hunt told Science Daily.

The researchers chose to limit social media, rather than have subjects stop using it altogether, because it was a more realistic option, she noted.

Agencies

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