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5 Reasons You Should Give up Red Meat

Avoiding red meat may add years to your life.

While meat is rich in protein and other essential nutrients, such meats can also take a toll on your health — especially if you choose high-fat or processed red meats. Believe it or not, you can reap several benefits from giving up red meat.

1. Weight Control

While you don’t have to give up meat to stay slim, avoiding red meat is often beneficial for healthy weight management. People who don’t eat red meat tend to weigh less than meat eaters. One 2014 review in Obesity Reviews found that people who eat large amounts of red and processed meats have higher body mass indexes (BMIs) and waist circumferences than those who don’t — and eating such meats increases your risk for obesity.

2. Disease Risk Reduction

Giving up red meat, especially processed red meat, may lower your risk for developing chronic diseases. A 2016 review in Food and Chemical Toxicology reports that studies have linked processed and red meat to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers — like colorectal cancer. Authors of this review point out that more research is needed in this area, but avoiding processed and red meat appears to lower your chronic disease risks.

3. Longevity

Saying no to red meat may boost your life expectancy, according to a 2012 review published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Authors of this review found that a higher red meat intake, whether it be from processed or unprocessed meat, is associate with an increased risk of death — and substituting healthier options (like poultry, fish, legumes, low-fat dairy foods, nuts or whole grains) for red meat lowers your risk of all-cause death, especially from heart disease and cancer.

4. Improved Brain Health

Avoiding red meat may even slow mental decline associate with aging. Today’s Geriatric Medicine reports that study participants who avoided or limited red meat, butter, margarine, cheese, fast foods, fried foods, sweets, and pastries in combination with getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, poultry, and olive oil showed brain functioning at eight years younger than people who didn’t follow the diet. A 2013 review in BioMed Research International found that following a Mediterranean-style diet, which contains little or no red meat, may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

5. Less Hormones and Antibiotics

Unless you’re eating red meat that’s organic or specifically states it’s free from hormones and antibiotics, you’re running the risk of ingesting these two substances. In comparison, hormones are not allowed to be used in poultry production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While organic red meat is certainly available, it’s often much more expensive than regular red meat.

Bottom Line

You may reap several health benefits from giving up red meat entirely. However, if you do eat it in moderation, choose very lean cuts of meat and avoid processed meats whenever possible.

[Image via Getty]

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