We’ve all heard that eating less red meat has a multitude of benefits, but did you know that replacing it entirely could possibly lower your risk of heart disease? With heart disease being the number one killer in America, it is important for us to establish healthy eating habits. And, even though there is a multitude of opinions on the subject, some evidence points to red meat as a factor.
Heart disease is described as an ailment that affects the heart. There are many types of conditions under this term but the most common one is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD starts with atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in the blood vessels which causes them to narrow. Potentially, this buildup can turn into a heart attack because the heart muscle will improperly do its job due to insufficient blood flow and oxygen. It has been recently noted that “every year, about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 580,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.”
Red Meat and TMAO
A 4-week study published in the European Heart Journal concluded that a diet rich in red meat produced high levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) compared to diets that incorporated white meat or plant-based protein. TMAO is a compound that our gut produces from ingesting animal products such as red meat, dairy and eggs. Research has found that high levels of TMAO can lead to heart attacks or strokes due to its effect on blood platelets. Fortunately, the 4-week study also proved that high levels of TMAO can be reduced in as little as one month if individuals replaced their red meat for white meat or plant-based protein.
Substitute Red Meat in Your Diet With…
Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, goat, bison and others. You can substitute it with proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, beans and even whole grains. There are many options, so you can be rest assured that you will find something that you’ll like.
Cutting red meat abruptly from your diet may be a difficult task for most who are in the habit of eating it daily, but you can start slow. For instance, you may begin eating it only once a day, then cut it down to less than 4 times a week and before you know it, you’ll have substituted your entire red meat consumption.