An Focal · Features

Increased life span by cutting red meat?

There is nothing better than a nice steak and a glass of red wine. The ultimate dinner on many people’s personal menus but just how often should we indulge ourselves.

Red meat has many health benefits such as containing iron, vitamin B12, to help make DNA and red blood cells healthy, and zinc, which keeps the immune system working properly. It has also recently been linked to reducing depression in women who regularly eat red meat.

However it is not only unhealthy when eaten regularly but can be positively lethal, according to a major US study.

The research shows that regularly eating red meat, especially the processed variety, dramatically increases the risk of death from heart disease and cancer. So rethinking that quarter-pounder after the Lodge may have more benefits than just your waistline.

The study also found that cutting red meat out of the diet completely led to significant benefits. Replacing red meat with fish, poultry, or plant-based protein foods contributed to a longer life.

Eating nuts were said to reduce the risk of dying by 20% making a case for swapping roast beef for nut roast.

Data from over 120,000 men and women taking part in two large US health and lifestyle investigations were analysed to produce the findings, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The studies monitored the progress of their participants for more than 20 years and gathered information about diet.

In total, scientists documented nearly 24,000 deaths including almost 6,000 from heart disease and over 9,300 from cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund, a cancer prevention charity, recommends that people avoid processed meat entirely and limit their consumption of red meat to 500g a week.

Dr Rachel Thompson, the charity’s deputy head of science, believes that the study strengthens the body of evidence which shows a link between red meat and chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Cutting down on red meat may increase your life span and will certainly deepen your pockets as other protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans or lentils are much cheaper on a students budget than steak.

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