When we think of heart healthy food, we don't necessarily think of steak, but now researchers say it could help when consumed in moderation. New findings released in the journal, Nutrition showed that eating meat can actually give your heart a boost, similar to the impact of quitting smoking, limiting your sodium intake or more physical activity. Scientists analyzed data of nearly 2,000 women in the U.K.'s largest adult twin registry. They analyzed how much protein a person ate as well as dietary intake of seven amino acids which are the building blocks of protein are known to have heart-healthy properties.
Researchers then compared diet data with other measures of heart health. They found that twins with healthier tickers than their siblings consumed more amino acids which can be found in high-protein foods like beans, lentils, broccoli, spinach, eggs, meat and fish.
Your body uses amino acids to make new tissues and repair damaged tissue, among other functions. There are hundreds of amino acids, but scientists studied seven in particular — glutamic acid, leucine, tyrosine, glycine, histidine, arginine, and cysteine. They discovered that eating more amino acids from meat (glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine) was associated with having less-stiff arteries.
Animal-based amino acids were also linked to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure and stiff arteries are highly linked to heart disease. They found that getting more amino acids in your diet will have a positive impact on your heart.
But before you run to the nearest steakhouse, consider this: Scientists say it doesn’t take much meat to reap the benefits. Having a small steak (about 2.7 ounces — roughly the size of a computer mouse) or 3.5 ounces of salmon (approximately the size of a checkbook) will help you fend off heart disease.