Include This Food Into Your Diet Plan, and Lower Your Heart Disease Risk by 20%

According to a study from the medical research journal The BMJ, eating more plant-based protein and less red meat may lower your risk of coronary heart disease. Though all of the study participants were men, the findings are very likely to apply to women as well. Previous studies by The BMJ and other journals have demonstrated a link between red meat and heart disease regardless of gender.

We know what you may be thinking: this isn’t new science. Previous studies have already established the risks associated with high consumption of red meat. The BMJ study, however, differentiated between processed and unprocessed meat and analyzed healthy meat alternatives, making it easier for researchers to offer dietary recommendations.

Processed red meat isn’t the only problem

Most of us know that processed meats should be a luxury and not a regularity because of their dangers. The nitrites in cured meats such as sausage, bacon, hot dogs, or salami, for example, can form carcinogenic nitrosamines when cooked at high temperatures. Cured meats are also notoriously high in salt, which can raise blood pressure.

As expected, The BMJ study showed that participants who had one serving of processed red meat per day were 15 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease, placing them at the highest risk level out of all three study groups.

However, cured meats were not the only problem. Participants who consumed fresh red meat (and no cured meat) were 11 percent more likely to develop heart disease. Those who ate a combination of fresh and cured red meat were at a 12 percent increased risk.

According to the research, red meat is likely to increase your risk for heart disease because it contains low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is often considered “bad” cholesterol. Processed and unprocessed red meat also contains high levels of the chemical compound L-carnitine, which may promote atherosclerosis. Other studies have shown that the type of iron found in red meat, called heme iron, is associated with fatal heart disease and heart attacks.

The meat replacement is just as important

Reducing your intake of red meat is a good first step, but it’s important to not stop there. Your meat replacement is just as important!

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