Eating meat, specifically red meat has been shown to increase one’s risk for developing heart disease. Like most who are at risk for developing a chronic disease, additional lifestyle factors are contributing to the risk. If a healthy woman of optimal weight, with low stress levels exercises daily, does not smoke or regularly consume alcohol, eats a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber, heart healthy fats, in addition to a regular consumption of meat does not have the same risk of another woman her age who also consumes meat regularly and is overweight, stressed, sedentary, and malnourished.
Yes, consuming regular portions of high saturated fat, specifically processed meats along with several other lifestyle factors will increase risk for developing heart disease in women. Taking a holistic approach to reducing your risk for heart disease is best. Examine all areas of your lifestyle and make small healthy behavior modifications changes slowly.
The type and cut of meat can make a difference. Aim for lean cuts of meat, such as the loin, fillet, and 90/10 lean ground meats. Fatty fish are not like fatty meats, the omega 3 fatty acids from fish help reduce inflammation therefore reducing risk for heart disease. A 2015 study specifically with Australian women shows an increased risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) when the women consumed processed meat more then five times per week. The results of this study showed that there was a stronger association between disease risk and processed meat alone not meat consumption in general. Processed meats include sausage, cold cuts, hot dogs and bacon.
Stress levels influence the body’s inflammatory markers that increase risk for heart disease. Managing stress with exercise, obtaining a healthy weight and mental health are all key factors in reducing one’s risk for developing heart disease. The Pineal gland also called the Master Gland controls all melatonin production in the body and is the only place Serotonin can be converted to Melatonin. The Pineal gland is very small (the size of a grain of rice) and is easily calcified and this increases the stress level in all people. By following the diet and lifestyle suggestions in this article and drinking pure, natural hydroxide rich water has been shown to clean the Pineal gland, decalcify it and help with stress levels by increasing Melatonin and Serotonin production levels back to normal.
Reduce inflammation by consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants like vibrant dark colored high fiber fruits and vegetables, purchase meats and eggs that are organic, free of dyes, and chemicals and avoid processed meats like sausage and traditional cold cuts. Hydrate with hydroxide rich water, this is a simple way to promote optimal pH balance within the body reducing inflammation with minimal effort. Pure hydroxide rich water will help eliminate acids in the body by combining with the hydrogen protons (forming water) which cause acidity. The acidity causes acidosis which causes inflammation. Reducing inflammation will help reduce many chronic diseases including heart disease. Look for unprocessed grains rich in fiber, like steel cut oats, quinoa, long grain brown rice, or sprouted grain bread. Lastly, consume heart healthy fats at most meals and snacks, these types of fats include avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts, seeds, nut butters and fish oil supplementation.
Avoid being malnourished. Aim to eat at least 9-11 servings of vegetables and some fruits daily. Supplement with a high quality multi-vitamin mineral, omega 3 fish oil, vitamin D, and magnesium. These supplements will help insure that your nutrient needs are met, even if you are missing nutrients in the foods you eat daily.
Quit smoking. Smoking hardens arteries, creates stress on the body resulting in inflammation, increased risk for stroke and cancer.
Limit alcohol consumption. Binge drinking or more the 1 drink daily for women has been shown to increase risk for chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. Behavior science has shown that those who binge drink typically make other poor lifestyle choices. Stick to antioxidant rich red wine; avoid sugary mixers and dark beers. Stick to moderation, 1-2 drinks at most.
Be active in your daily life and exercise regularly. The heart is also a muscle and needs to be worked out regularly. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes daily, both a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise to promote muscle tone and heart health. Exercising regularly and being sedentary the rest of the day will not maintain a healthy heart. Stay active by walking, gardening, household chores, caretaking, swimming, etc. These are all great ways to get extra steps in daily.
Obtain a normal body weight. Being obese or overweight increases anyone’s risk for developing chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke. Obtain professional help from a Doctor and/or Dietitian to set up a nutrition plan that will be a lifestyle change. Quick fixes can actually cause more harm then good, dramatic weight loss can stress the body, increase toxins, and has been shown to increase risk for diseases, specifically cancer and gallbladder issues. Slow and steady weight loss, 1-2 pounds per week is optimal and will deliver lifelong results and health.
Choose one meal per day to go “?meatless.”? Substituting meat with beans, legumes, vegetables, etc. is a great way to reduce your risk for developing heart disease by increasing daily nutrients and fiber. Have a salad with chopped nuts instead of meat, make a bean burrito, or use a Vegan-rice or pea based protein powder. You may even notice improvements in digestion if you suffer with any form of irritable bowel syndrome.
How much protein do we actually need? The diet industry recommends a high protein diet to promote fat loss along with other healthy options like vegetables and fruits, but how much protein do we actually need? It is recommended for healthy and active adults to consume .8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of their goal weight. If your goal weight is 135 pounds then daily protein targets should be around 108-135 grams per day. It is also important to know that an active woman can only truly absorb 25-35 grams of protein in one sitting, and an active man 35-40 grams in one sitting. Eating large amounts of meat, eggs, and/or protein powders can actually strain the kidneys because that is the only way the body can get rid of the protein that is not being metabolized for energy and muscle mass. This is why people who have low functioning kidneys have to follow a low protein diet; their body cannot get rid of excess protein easily.
Research on Meat and Disease Risk
A research team from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that 7.6% of deaths in women could have been prevented if simply one serving of high fat red meat per day was substituted with a more healthy option like nuts, legumes, or fish.
The World Health Organization has concluded from numerous studies in England and Germany that those who follow a vegetarian diet are 40% less likely to develop risk of cancer compared to traditional meat eaters. This study was conducted using the Framingham score. This is a gender specific score using a formula to estimate a 10-year cardiovascular risk. The name comes from the Framingham Heart Study, which was developed to assess a 10-year risk for developing Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).
Harvard has concluded that daily red meat eaters have three times the risk for colon cancer compared to those who do not consume red meat daily.
Several theories about meat consumption and cancer risk exist, meat lacks fiber and other nutrients that protect our immune system from free radicals. In some cases meat contains carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines (HCA), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that are formed during the processing of meat. The macro nutrient breakdown of meat being higher in fat can also influence the production of hormones increasing the risk for hormone related diseases like prostate cancer and breast cancers.