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Red Meat and Your Heart Health: Can You Have Your Steak and Eat It Too?

With today’s beef being leaner than ever, there’s new evidence that red meat in moderation not only can be part of a healthy diet, but may actually help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, US News Health reports.

Research has repeatedly shown that the dietary cholesterol-heart disease connection is incorrect, so the fact that the news is catching up with this is encouraging. What’s important is the message that a healthy, balanced diet can include red meats — when you know which kind to choose, and how much to eat.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the microflora in your gut play a major role in your health. It metabolizes L-carnitine, a substance found in red meat, energy drinks and dietary supplements, and in so doing produces a byproduct called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). It’s this TMAO that is thought to be the real culprit that causes atherosclerosis.

This isn’t a ticket to unabatedly consume red meats, or excessive amounts of proteins, however. Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need, along with excessive starchy carbs and not enough healthy fat. A more ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most is 40 to 70 grams a day.

A key factor in maximizing your nutrition is achieving the right balance of macronutrients —carbohydrates, proteins, and fats — and if it’s beef you’re eating, always be sure that it comes from grass-fed, free-ranging animals that are antibiotic and drug-free.
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