There’s nothing quite like cutting into a juicy steak and taking that first bite. And who doesn’t love bacon on absolutely everything? From breakfast to salads, bacon adds a salty crunch that can’t be beat.
The problem with meat is that too much of it can be INFLAMMATORY to your system. Red meat is defined as any meat that comes from cows, pigs, sheep and goats. This also includes processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, meat jerkies, pepperoni, salami, sausage and some deli meats. Processed meats have been salted, cured, fermented or smoked for flavor and preservation purposes. Research shows that both processed and red meats are high in saturated fat, which causes inflammation. High intake of these meats can lead to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and accelerated aging—all of which go hand-in-hand with inflammation.
Here are some easy suggestions for decreasing the amount of red or processed meat in your diet.
- Go meatless once or twice a week. Give it a try! Add some leafy green vegetables as well as some vegetables high in protein, such as beans, to round out your meal.
- Limit meals that feature meat to once per day.
- Treat meat like a side dishrather than the main course. Make vegetables, fruits and fiber- filled carbohydrates the main events.
- Choose meats that have less than four grams of saturated fat per serving. Reality check: Most processed meats come in at 5g or more per serving!
- Choose meats that are uncured. This will reduce the amount of nitrates in your diet, which in turn, reduces your risk of inflammation. Nitrates are thought to contribute to cancer as well, so it just makes sense to eliminate them when possible.
- Swap out red meat for healthier options, such as poultry or seafood.
The benefits of cutting down on the amount of meat you eat are numerous. Since red meat takes more time for the body to digest, you may feel less bloated. Eating more healthy, fiber-rich foods will also help add healthy bacteria in your cut, decreasing inflammation. Your skin may also clear up and your cholesterol levels may drop. Finally, it could reduce the risk of serious disease and give you more energy. That’s a win-win!
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