Red meat and the risk of heart disease

Two raw steaks

Lean red meat in moderation is a great source of protein, iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. But too much red meat can negatively affect our health.

New research supported by NIH links daily consumption of a diet rich in red meat to increased blood levels of a chemical associated with heart disease. It suggests that the chemical— trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)—significantly increases with a diet rich in red meat. Past studies have linked TMAO to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Heart disease develops when the blood vessels to the heart become clogged with fatty deposits, or plaque. This also increases the potential for clot formation and development of a heart attack.

Researchers also found that when the people they studied stopped eating red meat and changed to either a poultry or vegetarian diet for a month, their TMAO levels dropped significantly.

Before removing red meat from your diet, talk to your health care provider.

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