Swapping Dairy For Nuts Could Boost Heart Health, Study Finds

Swapping dairy products for nuts and legumes is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease


3 Minutes Read

Artistic photo of hazelnut milk, after a study showed swapping dairy to nuts has better outcomes for heart health A major study has found that swapping dairy to nuts has better outcomes for heart health - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

A major review has found that swapping meat, dairy, and eggs for plant-based foods is associated with better heart health.

It revealed that ditching dairy for nuts and legumes correlates with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Cardiometabolic health refers to the functioning of a person’s cardiovascular system. This includes your heart, blood, and blood vessels. 

The study, published last month in BMC Medicine, was the first of its kind to look at links between swapping animal products for plant-based foods and a range of cardiometabolic outcomes, according to the researchers.

“Our findings indicate that a shift from animal-based to plant-based foods is beneficially associated with cardiometabolic health and all-cause mortality,” the paper states. 

What is cardiometabolic health?

Heart attack and stroke, two forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), are leading causes of death in rich countries. Previous studies link a plant-based diet to a lower risk of heart disease.

Recently, a “groundbreaking” study of 22 pairs of identical twins found that it only takes eight weeks for a plant-based diet to improve cardiovascular health.

Swap meat, eggs, and dairy for better heart health

A man holding a paper heart to his chest after a study found swapping dairy for nuts comes with better heart health
Adobe Stock Swapping dairy for nuts comes with better heart health, the study found

From a large body of studies, the researchers found that replacing meat, eggs, and dairy with plant-based foods comes with better cardiometabolic outcomes.

The study was a systematic review and meta-analysis. This means the researchers gathered all existing research using a clearly defined method to investigate a specific link. They then used a statistical process to analyze results from several similar studies.

“Both the reduction of animal-based foods, especially meat, and the increase of plant-based foods simultaneously contribute to the observed beneficial associations regarding cardiometabolic health,” the researchers wrote.

Benefits of switching away from dairy

Notably, the researchers found that swapping dairy for nuts and legumes comes with a lower risk of CVD. The authors stated, however, that more research is needed to determine the cardiometabolic outcomes of different dairy products (yogurts, cheeses, milks etc).

Plant milks and cheeses are often considered a healthier alternative to dairy products. Despite this, few governments are acting on the nutritional science. In Denmark, the government has introduced a plant-based roadmap to phase out animal products as part of a plan for better nutrition.

In the US, on the other hand, House Representatives recently voted to bring whole milk back to school lunches.

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