For many years now, scientific research has suggested a link between red meat intake and heart disease. This correlates with the American Heart Association urging people to limit the amount of red meat consumed, pointing toward a healthier diet of poultry, fish, and beans. (1)
What Is Red Meat?
Red meat is usually one of the following – beef, veal, pork, lamb, or mutton. In processed form, it is most commonly consumed as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers, salami, pepperoni, or ham and undergoes processing with additives and preservatives to ‘improve’ taste and shelf-life. (2)
How much you can eat varies from person to person, however, it is recommended that you consume no more than 3 portions, 350g of red meat per week. (3)
New Evidence Shows Stronger Links Between Processed Red Meat and Heart Disease
New research is now showing stronger links between red meat and heart disease. One study at the Queen Mary University of London, UK, examined the connection between red meat consumption and imaging measures of heart health.
The study included 19,408 participants of the UK Biobank, a type of biorepository that stores biological samples for use in research.
The researchers studied self-reported red and processed meat intake from the participants, analyzing associations of heart anatomy and function.
Three types of heart measures were examined with analysis adjusted for other factors that may impact results such as age, sex, deprivation, education, smoking, alcohol, exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and body mass index (BMI) as a measure of obesity. (4)
The researchers found that a higher intake of red and processed meat was related to an increased risk to heart health, in all observed areas. Specifically, participants with a higher red meat intake had smaller ventricles (the two lower chambers of the heart), poorer heart function, and firmer arteries; all indicators of cardiovascular health deficiencies. Researchers also found that in those eating a higher amount of oily fish, heart function improved, with arteries having more elasticity.
Study author Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, said, “The findings support prior observations linking red and processed meat consumption with heart disease and provide unique insights into links with heart and vascular structure and function. For example, greater red meat intake may lead to raised blood cholesterol and this, in turn, causes heart disease.” (4)
Healthy Eating To Improve Your Heart
As the study showed, eating higher quantities of red meat is linked to a greater risk of heart disease. So, it follows that improving your diet is key to a healthy heart.
Moving away from red meat, processed foods, and fast-food consumption, and filling your diet with nutrient-rich superfoods, full of vitamins and minerals is key to a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Information can be a minefield, however, one of the simplest and easiest solutions is to read and follow Dr. Partha Nandi’s SuperFoods cookbook 2020 edition (available free to download).
Within this special edition, Dr. Nandi lists 18 incredibly powerful superfoods along with 60 healthy and delicious recipes, giving you a head start to creating a healthier lifestyle.