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Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Death

Recently, a study from Harvard University researchers discovered that red meat consumption is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular and cancer death. The results also showed that when other healthy protein sources (examples: fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes) are consumed instead of red meat, there was a lower risk of death, ranging from 7% for fish to 19% for nuts. The New York Times (3/13, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) reports, "The increased risks linked to processed meat, like bacon, were even greater: 20% over all, 21% for cardiovascular disease and 16% for cancer." This study also looked into chronic disease risk factors such as age, body mass index, physical activity, family history of heart disease, and major cancers.

Red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that have been linked to higher risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Missing Too Many Heart-Healthy Habits

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States today, beating cancer and stroke. One and a half million Americans die every year from the disease or problems connected to it.  Even though heart disease can be caused by genetic risk factors such as family history or by aging, poor lifestyle choices are to be blamed in most cases.  Too much weight, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol abuse and physical inactivity are all known causes of heart disease.  Most patients with heart disease have many of these risk factors to deal with – and they tend to worsen each other’s effects.

In a recently completed study of almost 45,000 adult Americans, researchers reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 2010 which showed that participants who closely followed the diet and lifestyle recommendations of the American Heart Health Association (AHA) had a 76% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 51% lower risk of all deaths than those who did not follow the recommendations as well. The details of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Only a small group of Americans followed all or most of the AHA guidelines for heart health. Surprisingly, the biggest issue is not the lack of knowledge, but it is actually getting people to incorporate the diet and lifestyle modifications into their daily living activities.

Sugary Drinks Linked to Heart Disease in Men

Recently, the American Heart Association published a study in the journal, Circulation, showing that drinking 12 ounces of regular soda, fruit drinks and other sugar-sweetened drinks daily was linked to a higher risk of heart disease in men.  The results were significant even after considering other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use, and a family history of heart disease.

Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the lead author of the study, said the results were important because even just one drink per day was linked to an increased risk of heart disease. “These drinks should be treated as a treat, not for all the time,” Dr. Hu stated.

Sugar-sweetened beverages include: regular soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and sugar-sweetened water.

Steps to a Healthy You—Being Physically Active

1.    Motivate yourself—Get yourself into the mindset that workouts are fun and you will start looking forward to them.  Try these simple methods below to make your workout regimen fun and exciting:

a.    Make your workouts fun—Incorporate new exercises into your workout routine, try sprinting, dancing, basketball, rollerblading, or even swimming.

b.    Add your favorite music—When you exercise with your favorite tunes, it is easy to forget that you are trying to burn calories.

c.    Workout with a friend—Time will fly when you are catching up with a friend, and this will help you motivate each other.

d.    Incorporate an exercise-themed video game for your home system—Workout games are a fun way to add variety to your exercise routine.

e.    Wear workout clothes that you feel and look good in—Consider buying a new outfit that will fit you when you reach your goal.

f.     Keep motivated by rewarding yourself when you reach a goal—You should chose a reward that you really want in order to help yourself feel motivated.

2.    Be active whenever possible—Incorporate exercise into your daily living activities whenever, and wherever possible.

a.    Walk instead of drive

b.    Climb the stairs

c.    Walk your kids to school

d.    Make the time after dinner to walk with your family

e.    Do yard work, gardening, or shovel snow depending upon weather

f.     Wash your car by hand

g.    Park farther and walk more


We Can! The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Healthy Shopping Tips

Healthy Shopping Tips2

Using a shopping list and keeping a well-stocked kitchen can help reduce the time you spend cooking healthy meals and save you money and time from eating out too often. Try to read the labels as you shop, and pay attention to serving size and servings per container.

  • Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Light margarine
  • Egg whites/egg substitutes (example:  egg beaters)
  • Whole-grain sandwich breads, pita bread, English muffins
  • Soft corn tortillas, low-fat flour tortillas
  • Low-fat, low-sodium crackers
  • Plain cereal, dry or cooked
  • Brown Rice, pasta
  • Lean, white-meat (skinless chicken or turkey)
  • Fish and shellfish (not battered or fried)
  • Beef: round, sirloin, chuck arm, loin, and extra-lean ground beef
  • Pork: leg, shoulder, tenderloin
  • Dry beans and peas
  • Fat-free refried beans
  • Fresh, frozen, canned fruits in light syrup or juice
  • Fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added canned vegetables
  • Low-fat or fat-free salad dressings
  • Mustard
  • Jam, jelly, or honey
  • Herbs and spices
  • Salsa

Please visit the NHLBI website below for additional shopping tips:

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