Should people with heart diseases eat red meat?

January 22, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
As a person who has ischemic heart disease, should I eat more red meat to supplement iron for my body? (Van Dat, Nha Trang)


Common types of red meat are beef, pork, goat, dog, lamb, rabbit, and buffalo. Red meat is highly nutritious, containing a lot of protein, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and B vitamins. On average, 100 grams of raw red meat contains about 20 to 25 grams of protein and various essential amino acids such as lysine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. The content of myoglobin in red meat, which is around 65%, is much higher compared to white meats.

However, many people do not have a balanced red meat diet. Consuming too much red meat can increase the risk of heart diseases, kidney diseases, and cancers.

Red meat contains a high amount of saturated fats and cholesterol. Every 100 grams of pork contains 67 milligrams of cholesterol, which is a factor that increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, making pork the type of red meat with the highest content of this compound.

Steak with cutlery. Illustration photo by Freepik

Steak with cutlery. Illustration photo by Freepik

Eating more than 210 grams of meat per day, especially red or processed meat, can increase bad cholesterol (LDL-C). This cholesterol may accumulate in the arteries, causing them to narrow and reducing blood flow to the heart.. Over time, these deposits can grow, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks due to atherosclerosis.

A diet with a high amount of red meat may also be a cause of kidney disease.

Since you already have ischemic heart disease, it is advised not to consume a large amount of red meat. You can replace red and processed meat with white meat and plant-based protein sources such as nuts, legumes, whole grains, and soy products. You should also consider having at least one meat-free meal per day.

It is not advised to completely eliminate red meat from your diet as it provides valuable nutrients that are essential for the body. An adult should aim for diverse animal-derived protein sources, including red meat, white meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, and plant-based protein. However, it is important to limit your red meat consumption to no more than 500 grams per week.

Dr. Tran Thi Tra Phuong

Nutrihome Nutrition Clinic System

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