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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 10, No. 1, 2010, pp. 1966-1981
Bioline Code: nd10003
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2010, pp. 1966-1981

 en Role of Animal Meats In Cardiovascular Diseases with Reference to Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review
Lokuruka, MNI


Although animal food products are important sources of dietary protein in the diets of many African communities, questions are being raised concerning the role of animal meats and other animal products in chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases. This review of the literature was, therefore, conducted to provide information on the role of animal meats and their nutrients in cardiovascular diseases, with reference to sub-Saharan Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, infectious diseases are the current commonest cause of death, but cardiovascular diseases are set to surpass them as the major cause of mortality and morbidity. Although rare in the past, there are indications that coronary heart disease will become a burden to the health care system in sub-Saharan Africa. Diet is an important part of the control and management of cardiovascular diseases as most risk factors including diabetes mellitus, obesity, low-density lipoprotein and triacylglycerol levels, alcohol and blood pressure are all connected to diet. Animal meats can be significant sources of dietary saturated fatty acids and cholesterol due to their considerable lipid content. Dietary saturated fatty acids and cholesterol are significant influences on the development and progression of atherosclerosis, a major type of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and high serum cholesterol also increase the risk of stroke. Although dietary protein is considered to be of minor importance in the aetiology of cardiovascular disease, epidemiological studies have shown the consumption of animal protein to be positively correlated with cardiovascular disease incidence, while that of vegetable protein is negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease mortality rates. Also, due to the higher content of cholesterol in organ meats compared to skeletal muscles, it is recommended that their dietary consumption be limited. It, therefore, seems beneficial to reduce the dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol from meats and other high-fat, high-cholesterol animal foods, except fatty fish, since it is established on the basis of documented scientific evidence that reduction in serum cholesterol results in reduction of coronary morbidity and mortality. This review, therefore, recommends reduction in the intake of fatty red animal meat, while promoting consumption of portion-controlled lean white meats such as poultry, wild game and fatty fish. This can be achieved by integrating these recommendations into food and nutritional policy practice in Africa.

Meats, CVD risk, sub-Saharan Africa

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