The Real Deal About Red Meat

By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Caraline Watkins


Red meat – many of us love it,,,,but does it love us?

In today’s blog, let’s have a look at the realities of red meat and what can be done to include it as part of a healthy diet.

The Realities

Red meat includes beef, lamb, and pork. 

According to the American Heart Association® nutrition guidelines, red meat has a great deal of saturated fats. These saturated fats, along with the trans fats can raise your blood pressure. 

High consumption of red meat and other animal products have been linked to increased risk in heart disease and also in various cancers. 

The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures says the U.S.’s hormone-heavy beef production poses “increased risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer,” citing cancer rates in countries that do and don’t eat U.S. beef.

According to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARM), unless you have personal knowledge of where your meat is coming from, the majority of commercially raised animals may be contaminated with microorganisms and various pathogens. The most recent NARM retail meat report stated 90 percent of pork chops, ground beef and ground turkey, and 95 percent of chicken breasts, were contaminated with fecal bacteria. 

Exposure to these bacteria can wreak havoc on your body bringing on signs of more than just heart disease.  

What to Eat Instead of Red Meat?

It’s much healthier for your heart if you eat something other than red meat for protein and to fill you up. 

There are lots of choices including: skinless chicken, fish (non-fried), and even beans. These substitutes have less fat and they do not contribute as much to higher blood pressure.  

Non-meat items such as beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables are excellent in keeping the blood flowing. A variety of these foods on your plate will surely help to make a world of difference.

The Healthy Way to Include Red Meat in Your Diet

For a long time, people have maintained the status quo of eating a diet with meat as the star of every meal, and fruits and vegetables just as fillers. However, there’s a big difference between how animals were fed and raised hundreds of years ago as compared to their habitations and diet today.

When choosing all food products, and especially meat products, try to buy the best quality that is available to you. 

It’s my belief that meat that comes from grass-fed animals that are humanely raised without the use of chemicals and antibiotics are the better choice.  Choose organic meats that are raised under stricter regulations without the use of hormones. 

Like most things in life, moderation is very important. It’s okay for you to decide to eat red meat every once in a while, but choose the leaner cuts in order to avoid the dreaded saturated fats that can elevate blood pressure. 

Also, eating smaller portions of meat in comparison to the rest of your plate (vegetables should take up about half of your plate) is certainly a great start to making healthier changes down the road.

Ready to eat, but don’t feel like cooking? Try these delicious Healthy Meals Supreme selections:

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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