Research Round-Up: High Animal Protein Diet Risk; Strawberries & Heart Health; Omega-3 Fish Oil

News and views from the nutrition front.

High animal protein diets may increase cancer death risk

Middle-aged people who consumed the most pro-tein from animal-derived foods, such as meats and dairy, were four times more likely to die from cancer than people who ate the least, according to a study that followed over 6,000 people over age 50 for 18 years. Re-searchers found, however, that the risk was nearly eliminated when the proteins were plant-derived. (See “Pumping Up Protein” on page 4.) The study suggests that adults over age 65 may benefit from a moderate to high protein diet, which can boost health and longevity. High protein consumption is defined in the study as more than 20 percent of calories.

(Cell Metabolism, March 2014)

Strawberries boost heart health

Daily strawberry consumption may lead to significant reductions in cholesterol and triglycerides, according to a study from Italy. Eating 500 grams of the Alba cultivar of strawberries reduced total cholesterol almost 9 percent, LDL cholesterol by 14 percent, and triglycerides almost 21 percent. In addition, daily strawberry consumption had positive effects on blood lipid levels, while decreasing oxidative stress. High vitamin C, anthocyanin and fiber content are credited.

(Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, March 2014)

Eating omega-3 fish oils may lessen artery calcification

Higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may lower the incidence of coronary artery calcification, according to a study which tracked almost 300 middle-aged Japanese men living in Japan and middle-aged white men living in the U.S. over five years. The U.S. men were found to have three times the incidence of coronary calcification as the Japanese men, whose blood levels of marine-derived omega-3s were more than 100 percent higher. Average Japanese fish intake is nearly 100 grams (3.5 ounces) each day, while the average American eats 7-13 grams (.25 to .5 ounces).

(Heart, January 2014)

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