Swapping red meat for healthy proteins may help your heart

Replacing red meat with plant-based proteins may boost your cardiovascular health, according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Led by visiting scientist Laila Al-Shaar, researchers analyzed data from more than 40,000 U.S. men over a 30-year period. They found that eating one serving of either processed or unprocessed red meat per day was associated with a 12% higher risk of heart disease, and that a daily serving of processed red meat was linked with 15% higher risk. They also looked at the effect of substituting healthy proteins for red meat. They found that opting for high-quality plant-based proteins such as nuts, beans, peas, lentils or soy in place of red meat lowered the  risk of heart disease by 14%. Choosing whole grains and dairy products instead of red meat also benefited heart health.

Swapping red meat for plant proteins was linked with an even stronger benefit for those over age 65, the study found. “People at this age are more likely to develop cardiovascular morbidities such as hypertension,” said Al-Shaar in a December 7, 2020  article in U.S. News & World Report. “Therefore, the substitution of plant-based proteins for red meat could possibly improve the cardiometabolic profile of this ‘high-risk’ group and consequently lower their heart disease risk.”

Read the U.S. News & World Report article: Get Rid of Red Meat to Help Your Heart: Study