Study shows harmful effects of eating red meat

Just in time for the summer barbecue season, a new study has revealed that consuming some of your favorite foods like hotdogs and hamburgers can have harmful effects on your health. You probably already know that eating junk food isn't good for you, but the real effect of red meat appears to be more hurtful than previously thought.

So, before you go firing up the grill to lay it out with burgers, consider switching to healthier options, or at least be aware of how consuming red meat can hurt your heart. Having a burger on occasion probably won't be too harmful, but all seniors should understand the risks and consume only in moderation.

The real impact
A recent study published by the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure showed that eating red meat can greatly increase your risk of heart failure. Of the men who participated in the study, those who ate the most red meat had a 28 percent higher risk of heart failure compared to the men who ate the least. Men who ate the most red meat consumed about 75 grams per day, or the equivalent of one and one-half hotdogs. By comparison, the men who ate the least still consumed about 25 grams per day, or half of one hotdog.

Overall, the risk of death from heart failure was 43 percent higher in the men who consumed the most red meat compared to the group who ate the least. Previous studies have shown that processed red meat can be harmful, but with such an increased risk, seniors are advised to reduce their total intake by swapping out these meats in favor of fish or meatless alternatives.

"To reduce your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, we suggest avoiding processed red meat in your diet, and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings per week or less," said study author Joanna Kaluza of the Department of Human Nutrition at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw, Poland.

Why processed meat?
There are some additives that are used during the processing of red meat that can be harmful to the heart, including phosphates. In addition, other chemicals can be formed when red meat is cooked at high temperatures that can increase the risk of heart failure. This means that cooking on the grill can actually be making your burgers more harmful, though high temperatures are necessary to kill bacteria.

Tasty substitutions
Instead of classic American choices like cheeseburgers, bratwursts and dogs, there are many other delicious options to throw on the grill instead that won't pose the same risks for your heart. The American Heart Association suggests that adults eat no more than six ounces of lean meat, like skinless chicken and fish, per day. Adults should consume fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the heart, about twice per week to gain the full benefits.

Some of these fatty fish options that are good for you and easy to find at your local grocery store are salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. A portion of three and one-half ounces is recommended for a meal. Beyond fish, other alternatives to meat include, vegetable and bean burgers, tofu, Quorn products and tempeh. These choices have all risen recently in popularity among consumers, making them widely available and able to be prepared in many different ways.

To maximize your Senior Health Insurance benefits, visit for quick, simple and easy information.