Red Meat? No Problem—Easy Ways to Reverse Your Coronary Healthby Skye Sherman - August 9th, 2021
Is red meat bad for you? It depends who you ask. Some praise red meat for its iron and protein content, while others warn that you should stay far away from red meat if you want to keep your gut feeling light and healthy.
WebMD explains, “The heme iron in red meat is easily absorbed by the body. Red meat also supplies vitamin B12, which helps make DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy, and zinc, which keeps the immune system working properly. Red meat provides protein, which helps build bones and muscles.”
Getting enough iron is definitely important; you may need to turn to iron supplements if you don’t get enough iron in your diet naturally. Still, there may be drawbacks to getting iron from red meat.
Some point out that red meat consumption has been linked to heart disease and even cancer. That’s because “some red meats are high in saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol, and high levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease,” according to WebMD.
So if you want to protect your heart, what should you do? In this article we’ll take a look at the benefits and risks of eating red meat as well as other ways to reverse or protect yourself against coronary disease.
Should you limit red meat consumption?
If you’re wondering whether you should limit your red meat consumption in order to reverse coronary disease, you’re not alone. But what exactly qualifies as red meat?
Cleveland Clinic explains, “Meats are categorized as either white or red based off the amount of myoglobin found in the animal’s muscles. Myoglobin is a protein found in meat that produces a red color when it’s exposed to oxygen. Red meat is the meat of mammals and includes the livestock category, which is pork, lamb, veal and beef.”
When you do eat red meat, take note of the fact that it should be a lean cut of meat, not a processed meat like bacon or sausage. Processed meats have additives and preservatives that make them harmful to overall health.
A report in The Guardian shares, “Eating processed meat raises the risk of heart disease by a fifth, according to the largest ever analysis of research into the impact of meat consumption on cardiac health. … The team found that eating 50g per day of processed meat, including bacon, ham and sausages, increased the risk of heart disease by 18% owing to its high salt and saturated fat content. This fell to 9% for unprocessed red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, but there was no link found between heart disease and eating poultry, such as chicken and turkey, which are lower in saturated fat.”
Clearly, the real problem is processed meats, not red meat in general. Cleveland Clinic takes a balanced approach to the red meat question: “Health benefits and consequences often boil down to what type of red meat you’re eating, how often and how much. But generally speaking, choosing white meat or vegetarian options are your best bets for living an overall healthier lifestyle.”
If and when you do choose to consume red meat, you should opt for lean cuts, trim off any excess fat, and avoid overly processed meats. Ground meat is fine as long as you keep it no more than 10% fat. You should also opt for healthy cooking methods, like grilling or baking, rather than frying or covering it in a heavy sauce.
Health experts also recommend limiting your intake to once or twice per week. However, according to Cleveland Clinic, “If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, the recommendation is to limit red meat to less than or equal to 3 ounces per week.” Mayo Clinic adds, “meat, especially red meat and processed meat, is associated with increased risk of many health issues, including heart attack and stroke.”
In short, there are benefits to eating red meat, but how healthy it is for you depends mostly on what type of red meat you eat and how often you eat it. If you do it right and limit your intake to a healthy amount, you can enjoy the health benefits of the many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in red meat, such as protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
Other ways to reverse coronary disease
If you want to keep eating red meat in healthy amounts, that’s a good discussion to have with your doctor, but it doesn’t hurt to supplement your health and add in some other ways to reverse coronary disease.
Coronary, or heart, disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Pritikin Longevity Center explains it this way:
“Most heart disease results from atherosclerosis, which is cholesterol build-up, or plaque, in the inner walls of our arteries. Plaque can burst or rupture, which triggers blood clots that can block blood flow to the heart. The result is a heart attack. If the plaque ruptures in arteries that lead to the brain, the result could be a stroke. That’s the bad news. The good news is that with healthy lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and smoking cessation, and, if needed, medications, many people are able to stabilize atherosclerosis, making plaque less likely to rupture.”
If you want to make healthy changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of heart disease, you can start by lowering your cholesterol and sodium intake. Opt for healthy, lighter food options and stick as close as you can to the Mediterranean diet. Get moving and make sure your heart rate is up for at least 20 to 30 minutes each day with some exercise, which can be low-impact if you are older. And, of course, quit smoking and manage your stress levels for best results.
Can acupuncture, moxibustion, and Viagra reverse coronary disease
One surprising drug that may help with heart disease is Viagra. Believe it or not, according to Healthline, “New research from Sweden finds that the impotence drug sildenafil (Viagra) can significantly reduce the risk of another heart attack and increase the life span in men already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.”
Experts seem to think this might be because drugs like sildenafil reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. By lowering blood pressure, the risk of a heart attack may also be lowered.
Another potential treatment is moxibustion, which is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that involves burning moxa (a cone or stick made of ground mugwort leaves) on or near your body’s meridians and acupuncture points. “Practitioners believe that the resulting heat helps stimulate these points and improves the flow of qi (energy) in your body,” according to Healthline.
There have been studies linking moxibustion to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. The Journal of Korean Medicine states, “The evidence suggests that moxibustion treatment may help to reduce cardiac arrhythmia, however, it is limited, low-certainty and we cannot rule out benefits or risks with this treatment. High-quality studies that report adverse effects are needed.”
Did you know that acupuncture, another type of traditional Chinese medicine, might also be able to help reverse coronary disease? That’s because acupuncture can make it easier to live a healthier lifestyle that wards off heart disease. If you can do this instead of taking blood pressure medication, this may be a better choice for your health, depending on what your doctor advises.
As Acufinder explains, “By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80%. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, reducing stress and improved sleep - all of which can be helped with acupuncture and Oriental medicine.”
Acupuncture can help to lower blood pressure, make it easier to quit smoking, assist with maintaining a healthy weight, reduce stress, improve sleep, and more. You may want to look into acupuncture if you need help maintaining a lifestyle that will make your heart happier.