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Red Meat and Heart Diseases

Red meat is one of the first items that the doctors advise you to take off your diet if you have weight problems. Regular consumption of red meat has been linked with cardiovascular diseases, colorectal and other types of cancers, arthritis, diabetes and obesity in many studies, primarily due to its cholesterol and saturated fat content.

Saturated fat is a main contributing factor to high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance fat-like substance. High LDL cholesterol levels in blood can lead to lipoprotein deposits in the arteries which can lead to atherosclerosis. It blocks or narrows the arteries and reduces the oxygen flow to different organs of the body and results in cardiovascular diseases or can even cause a stroke.

A maximum of 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol is the value prescribed by doctors and it is said that 3 ounces of beef contains around 70 milligrams of cholesterol and 8gms of saturated fat which accounts for more than 75% of the recommended daily intake. So that itself clearly answers the question! Apart from that, the type of iron found in red meat, known as heme iron, has also been linked to heart attacks and fatal heart diseases, especially among women with type 2 diabetes.

But recently, a few studies have come out with reports that say lean red meat (trimmed of all visible fat) can have a beneficial effect on people with high cholesterol and who are trying to reduce the fat in their diet, but only as long as your servings are moderate! It is also said that the main reason why red meat got targeted as the ‘food to avoid’ in many observational studies was because it got lumped along with processed meat like sausages, ham, salami etc which is much more harmful than unprocessed meat.

So you can still have your steak, but limit the consumption to not more than 500 grams in a week and substitute the processed meat in your diet with healthier protein sources like beans, poultry or fish. If you use heart-friendly methods of cooking like baking or grilling than high-heat methods like pan-frying, it’s all the better.

Recently, many meat-lovers have started disregarding the earlier studies which criticized red meat consumption because they were mainly observational studies and not in a controlled environment. But the truth is that it is a calorie-rich food by all means; therefore the key to a healthy life is regular exercise and moderate consumption!