Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rare Good News for Red Meat–Eaters

Rare Good News for Red Meat–Eaters
New research implies moderate meat eating helps your health.
By Emily Main
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA Link to full article below (this is an excerpt)

If you choose to include red meat in your meal plans, enjoy it in moderation and opt for organic products.

In the past year, eating meat—especially red meat and processed meat—has been linked to lung cancer, vision loss, and even shorter lives. But a new study, published in the journal Gerontology finds that eating red meat during middle age may have protective benefits for your ability to perform normal daily activities as you age. And while it's not a game changer that will lead health experts to recommend a daily New York strip steak, the study does suggest that eating meat has an upside.

THE DETAILS: Researchers surveyed 3,227 Japanese adults who were between the ages of 47 to 59 in 1980. At that point, they took blood samples, which were measured for cholesterol levels, and asked the participants to fill out questionnaires based on what they eat, specifically asking about consumption of eggs, fish, and meat. Those people were followed for 19 years, at the end of which 2,514 were still living. They were interviewed again and asked about their abilities to perform various "activities of daily life"—feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, and walking—and whether they could perform those without help, with partial help, or only with full help. The researchers found that a higher intake of meat (more than once every two days) led to a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood that those participants would need help with daily activities. They found no association between intake of fish or eggs and the ability to perform
activities of daily life.

WHAT IT MEANS: It appears there may be a few benefits of meat-eating related to your quality of life—if you're eating a sensible amount and not living on bacon double cheeseburgers. "Red meat has a relatively unique profile of nutrients, compared to other foods," says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, a nutrition counselor in Roseville, CA, and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "It's a good source of zinc, B vitamins, protein, and iron," she says. And this study notes that red meat has high levels of menaquinone, a compound in animal products that one previous study suggests might be protective against cardiovascular disease.

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