• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Does eating red meat affect heart health?

October 4, 2019

Red meat consumption has long been associated with increased risk of diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. A new study suggests that meat may not be so bad after all. Nevertheless, Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says that limiting red meat in your diet is still important for heart health.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."Read the script.

Meat — is it OK to eat it when comes to heart health or not?

"Cutting down on meat consumption has clearly been shown in multiple, multiple studies to be helpful," says Dr. Kopecky.

He says meat, especially red meat and processed meat, is associated with increased risk of many health issues, including heart attack and stroke. 

"Everybody from the World Health Organization to the American Cancer Society has said: 'Don't eat so much processed meats. Don't eat so much red meat,'" says Dr. Kopecky.

People who eat foods based on the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, veggies, fruits, fish and olive oil, have a reduced risk of many health issues.

"Not just heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer's disease ⏤ things we're all getting worried about. Almost all cancers, (and it) reduces erectile dysfunction, macular degeneration, eye problems we get — multiple things," says Dr. Kopecky.

So cutting down on meat is a good thing.

"Eating a little bit probably won't get you in trouble, but eating as much as you want will," says Dr. Kopecky.

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