Last month, researchers presented findings from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) Study at the European Congress of Cardiology’s annual meeting.
Of course, cardiologists are up in arms because the results directly contradict everything they’ve been preaching for decades.
But I’m rather pleased with the study. It supports my long-standing view about the importance of following a balanced diet, which includes red meat and full-fat dairy.
7 key foods lower cardiovascular disease risk
For the PURE study, the researchers assessed the connection between diet and health outcomes in 138,000 people worldwide.
And they found that participants who ate more of seven key foods had a significantly lower risk of suffering cardiovascular disease events — such as heart attack and stroke — compared to participants who ate less of these foods.
They also had a whopping 25 percent lower mortality risk!
These seven health-boosting foods include:
- Red meat
And there you have it in black and white…
The scientists on the front lines of research have clearly found that eating more dairy and red meat — together with the other healthy foods — can indeed help you avoid deadly health outcomes.
And the researchers didn’t stop there…
They validated their food scoring system by applying it to three other large, independent databases: The ONTARGET trial, which includes patients with heart disease, and the INTERHEART and INTERSTROKE case-control studies, which include healthy patients and patients who already had heart disease or stroke.
In these three studies, participants who ate the most of the seven key PURE foods had a:
- 25 percent lower all-cause mortality risk
- 14 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular events
- 23 percent lower heart attack risk
- 22 percent lower stroke risk
- 21 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death
So what does this tell us?
PURE study investigator Andrew Mente, M.D., of McMaster University in Ontario, perhaps said it best, “You need nutrition beyond fruits and vegetables — dairy and red meats both have many nutrients not found in fruits and vegetables.”
In reality, these findings are no great revelation. I learned this concept in my basic Biology and Human Diet and Nutrition classes (taught for my Anthropology doctorate, not my M.D. degree). So, I never understood why nutritionists — much less cardiologists — would rail so vehemently against eating red meat and dairy…
The danger of food restrictions
When so-called “experts” deem certain categories of food unhealthy, they typically recommend limiting them from your diet — or cutting them out entirely.
But solid science shows that this leads to an unbalanced diet, which can result in malnutrition, more disease, and even early death.
That’s one major reason why I always recommend you eat a balanced diet, which includes all the major food groups. And it doesn’t have to be costly, as I discussed in the September 2015 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“9 ways to get a balanced diet on a balanced budget”). Subscribers have access to my entire archive by logging into the Subscribers Sign-In via www.DrMicozzi.com. (Interesting in becoming a subscriber? Click here to learn more or sign up today.)
Now, let’s look more closely at what the study participants ate specifically on a daily basis…
Healthiest men and women enjoy red meat and dairy
As you might expect, the least healthy group of participants in the PURE study had only 1.8 servings of fruits and vegetables and 0.7 servings of nuts and legumes per day. And the healthiest group had 8.4 servings of fruits and vegetables and 2.5 servings of nuts and legumes per day.
Now here come the findings that got the cardiologists up in arms…
For dairy, the least healthy group had only 0.6 servings per day, while the healthiest group had 3 servings per day. The data shows that it’s perfectly okay to have 1 serving of dairy with each meal of the day! (And remember, it should always be full-fat dairy.)
For red meat, the least healthy group had a mere 0.3 servings of it per day, while the healthiest group had 1.4 servings per day. So, clearly, eating a little more than one serving a day of unprocessed red meat doesn’t harm your health. Quite the contrary — it helps you live a longer, healthier life!
When it came to fish, there was little difference between the least healthy group at 0.2 servings per day, and the healthiest group with only 0.3 servings per day.
Everyone in the study had woefully inadequate fish intake. And if there’s any healthy food that more people should eat more of, it’s fish. But clearly, that isn’t happening.
After reading about all the latest research, I recently increased my fish and fish oil recommendations. You can read all about them in the June 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“Why I’m upping my recommendations for this controversial supplement”).
The main things you need to know right now are:
- If you eat fish two to three times a week, you need to take 4 to 5 grams of fish oil daily. Choose a product that contains 1,400 to 1,800 mg of EPA fatty acids and 1,000 to 1,300 mg of DHA fatty acids.
- And if you don’t eat any fish, you’ll need 6 grams of fish oil that contains 2,000 mg of EPA and 1,500 mg of DHA. (Just check out the Supplement Facts label on the back of the bottle to find the DPA/DHA content.)
Balancing carbs, fat, and protein for improved health
The PURE researchers also looked at the three major categories of macronutrients in foods: carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
In the least healthy group, 69 percent of their daily total diet were carbs, whereas the healthiest group consumed just 54 percent carbs.
For fats, the least healthy group came in around 19 percent, while the healthiest group was at 28 percent.
And for protein, the least healthy group ate only 12 percent protein, while the healthiest ate 18 percent.
The takeaway here is this: You can further reduce your risk for heart disease (as well as other chronic diseases and conditions) by sticking to a healthy diet full of fresh produce, nuts, and a variety of protein and healthy fats, including grass-fed, full-fat dairy and organic, grass-fed red meat.
I’ll soon report on another new study, which is consistent with these findings and shows that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health. Stay tuned right here to the Daily Dispatch for more.
In the meantime, you can learn about all the natural approaches to prevent and reverse heart disease in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. Click here to learn more or to enroll today.
“Diet and Nutrition after the PURE study,” European Heart Journal, May 2018; 39(17): 1503–1504