Study co-author Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, a clinical research fellow at Queen Mary University in London, said other studies have looked mostly at clinical outcomes. Her team was interested in another approach.
“They’ve looked at the links between meat consumption and having cardiac health problems in the future, so having problems like heart attacks or dying from heart diseases,” she said. “We wanted to look in more detail at the impact of meat intake on different aspects of cardiovascular health.”
The study included more than 19,400 people in the UK Biobank database. Each had self-reported their food intake and had three heart measures that researchers could analyze.
These included cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) images, which doctors use to assess how much blood is being pumped through the heart’s ventricle. Novel CMR radiomics were used to obtain detailed information about the heart’s shape and texture, which offer clues about health of the heart muscle. Researchers also looked at elasticity of blood vessels. Stretchy arteries are healthier.
Though conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can explain some of these results, they only offer a partial explanation, Raisi-Estabragh said.