Red meat comprises meat obtained from farm reared animals such as pigs, lambs, and cows. It is popular among those who follow a paleo diet – a diet that includes foods presumed to be eaten by early humans, including mostly meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit and excluding dairy and processed food. While red meat comes with benefits like abundant protein, saturated fat, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, eating any more than 90 g of red meat in a day may prove more harmful than beneficial. Wondering how? Here are 6 ways reducing your red meat intake will positively impact your health.
6 Benefits Of A Low Red Meat Intake
1. Reduces Chances Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a problem that plagues a vast majority of the population the world over. And red meat, which is abundant in saturated fat, has been repeatedly linked to high cholesterol levels. While high cholesterol could be the result of other factors like genetics, reducing your red meat intake is sure to help immensely in lowering the risk of high cholesterol.
2. Lowers Heart Disease Risk
Research suggests that a compound found in red meat known as carnitine promotes atherosclerosis – the hardening or clogging of arteries.1 This, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke in anyone consuming high amounts of red meat. So, bringing down your red meat intake could be crucial to reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and hence heart disease.
3. Brings Down Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Eating red meat frequently – processed red meat specifically – is believed to increase the risk of obesity thanks to the abundant saturated fat and cholesterol in it. This, in turn, could increase your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes.2 So, try to cut down on your red meat portions and steer clear from obesity and type 2 diabetes.
4. May Reduce Cancer Risk
The compound that gives red meat its color is believed to be responsible for the formation of a number of cancer-causing substances in the body. Also, cooking red meat at high temperatures is said to produce compounds that may cause bowel cancer. So, regular consumption of red meat – processed red meat, in particular – could contribute to an increased risk of cancer.3
Eating excess red meat is also believed to result in hormonal imbalance, which might increase the chances of developing hormone sensitive breast cancer. Research suggests that certain compounds in red meat behave like hormones and increase breast cancer risk by attaching to certain hormone receptors.4 Reducing the amount of red meat you eat could help bring down this risk.
5. May Lower Chances Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Red meat is abundant in iron, which when consumed in excess is believed to have damaging effects on the brain. Research suggests that sources of iron like red meat result in the accumulation of the mineral in the brain, damaging the tissue covering nerve fibers known as myelin. This, in turn, affects brain function and hence results in Alzheimer’s.5 So, eat less red meat and avoid losing yourself to Alzheimer’s.
6. Increases Amount Of Energy Released
A meal with red meat takes time to digest, slowing the process of energy release. Consuming too much red meat may also result in poor absorption, increasing the chances of irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and a poor nutritional balance. So, reducing the amount of red meat you eat could improve the way your digestive system functions, resulting in more energy production.
It’s a good idea to gradually cut down on the amount of red meat you eat instead of going cold turkey. Start replacing the excess red meat in your diet with healthier options like poultry and fish. These will provide you with the protein you’re missing out on from a reduced red meat intake. Also, ensure that you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts too. Start a low red meat diet today and be on the path to a healthier life.
|↑1||Koeth, Robert A., Zeneng Wang, Bruce S. Levison, Jennifer A. Buffa, Elin Org, Brendan T. Sheehy, Earl B. Britt et al. “Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis.” Nature medicine 19, no. 5 (2013): 576-585.|
|↑2||Pan, An, Qi Sun, Adam M. Bernstein, Matthias B. Schulze, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Red meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 94, no. 4 (2011): 1088-1096.|
|↑3||Chan, Doris SM, Rosa Lau, Dagfinn Aune, Rui Vieira, Darren C. Greenwood, Ellen Kampman, and Teresa Norat. “Red and processed meat and colorectal cancer incidence: meta-analysis of prospective studies.” PloS one 6, no. 6 (2011): e20456.|
|↑4||Cho, Eunyoung, Wendy Y. Chen, David J. Hunter, Meir J. Stampfer, Graham A. Colditz, Susan E. Hankinson, and Walter C. Willett. “Red meat intake and risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women.” Archives of internal medicine 166, no. 20 (2006): 2253-2259.|
|↑5||UCLA study suggests iron is at core of Alzheimer’s disease. University of California, Los Angeles.|