Red processed meat

Proteins are essential for body and health. But not all proteins are healthy. Some are laden with saturated fats and salt. This is either naturally or by processing. Cardiologists warn about a specific food protein that can increase risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is red processed meat.

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Protein and health

Protein is one of the macronutrients that your body needs in adequate amounts for proper functioning. It is part and parcel of each and every cell of the body. Enzymes are made of amino acids that are the units of protein. These build body tissues and muscles and are responsible for the structure of the body. Moreover, protein in foods make you feel full longer and assists in weight management.

Red processed meat
Red processed meat (Source: Food safety magazine)

But having said that, it does not imply that all types of proteins are good. There is one kind of protein that doctors and especially cardiologists warn to reduce for heart health. They cause plaques in blood vessels and ultimately affect the heart. This is red meat which has also being processed.

Red processed meat

Cardiologists have issued a red alert against red processed meat. They tell their patients to limit it’s intake. It is best to avoid it. Health expert, David Seitz, MD states:

The number one artery-clogging meat to avoid for heart health is processed red meat.”

According to him, the worst of these are hot dogs, sausages, deli meats and bacons. David explains:

These foods are high in saturated fat and sodium, which can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease.” In addition to all that fat and salt, these processed meats are also packed with additives and preservatives, which “can further increase your risk of health problems such as diabetes, stroke, and even cancer,”

Health expert opinion

Dr. Nick West is a cardiologist and the Chief Medical Officer at Global Medical Affairs at Abbott’s vascular business. He said:

“Consumption of both red meat and processed meats has shown a consistent relationship across multiple studies with increased risks of heart disease, cancer and diabetes—with the extent of increased risk varying with the amount of red meat eaten,”

Red processed meat
Artery clogging (Source: Medical news today)

But he adds that total omission is best but you can at least reduce the amount of intake. Eat it in moderation. Because, he says:

“Red meat is a good source of dietary protein, iron and vitamin B12—but current guidance, despite such benefits, is to limit intake to no more than 2 or 3 servings per week,”

Red meat healthy alternatives

Also, read What is lean protein? Advantages, sources, and how to consume?

Which healthy protein can you substitute in place of red meat? David suggests to have instead turkey or grilled chicken. These are lean protein.

Red processed meat
Grilled chicken (Source: Once upon a chef)

And about it, David explains:

“Lean poultry is a great source of protein without the unhealthy fats found in red meat,”

“Additionally, it’s low in sodium, so you can still enjoy the flavor without worrying about increasing your risk of heart disease.”