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Forget the hot dogs and cold cuts - processed meats boost heart failure risk by more than 25 percent

Processed meat
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(NaturalNews) Heart failure incidence is escalating at an alarming rate and now affects more than six million men and women in the US, a number that is expected to double over the next ten years. It is a problem caused by years of elevated blood pressure levels that put excess strain on the heart, often enlarging the muscle by as much as one-third as it strains to push larger volumes of blood. This problem is confounded by the development of micro-cracks in the vascular network that the body fills with calcium and other hardened patching compounds found in the blood that cause arterial stiffening. Over many years, the heart must work harder and harder, and eventually this amazing muscle loses efficiency and ultimately fails.

Nitrates and food additives in processed meats shown to boost risk of heart failure

Excess body weight, lack of physical activity and a processed food diet all contribute to hypertension and consequently, the current epidemic of heart failure cases. Researchers have found another independent cause of heart failure as they have determined that men who regularly eat moderate amounts of processed red meat such as cold cuts and sausage may have an increased risk of heart failure incidence and a greater risk of death from heart failure.

Reporting in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation: Heart Failure, scientists from the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden note that "processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk." Researchers set up a cohort of 37,035 men, aged 45-79 years with no history of heart failure. Participants completed a food intake questionnaire to determine how often they ate red and processed meats and were then followed for a period of 22 years or until death.

Totally eliminate processed meats and limit red meat consumption to lower heart failure and cancer risk

Past research studies have concluded that processed meat consumption increases the risk of many types of digestive cancers by up to 50 percent. The authors of this study found that the men who ate the most processed red meat (75 grams per day or more) had a 28 percent higher risk of heart failure compared to men who ate the least (25 grams per day or less) after adjusting for confounding lifestyle variables. Furthermore, men who ate the most processed red meat had more than a two-fold increased risk of death from heart failure compared to men in the lowest category. The scientists did not find a correlation between unprocessed red meat consumption and risk of heart failure or death.

Lead study author, Dr. Joanna Kaluza concluded "To reduce your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, we suggest avoiding processed red meat in your diet, and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings per week or less ... instead, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts and increase your servings of fish." Additionally, there is sufficient evidence to warrant the reduction of total unprocessed red meat consumption to no more than 10 percent of calories consumed to minimize risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality.

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About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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