Love red meat? Cutting back just a bit helps heart

(CNN Health) — Eating too much red meat has long been a no-no for people with high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. But it hasn’t always been clear how much is too much.

Now, a new study suggests that you don’t have to cut out red meat altogether to improve your heart health. If you eat red meat more than once a day, cutting back to one serving every other day can substantially reduce your risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease, the study found.

Replacing the red meat in your diet with other, less fatty sources of protein — such as nuts and fish — can lower your risk even further, the researchers say.

Women who eat two servings of red meat per day have a 30 percent increased risk of heart disease compared with women who average three to four servings per week (or half a serving per day), according to the study, which appears in the journal Circulation.

That’s a “pretty dramatic increase,” says the lead researcher, Dr. Adam Bernstein, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston. Although the study included only women, Bernstein says he would expect the findings to be similar in men.

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