Is Eating Red Meat Good or Bad for Your Health?

Is Eating Red Meat Good or Bad for Your Health?

In a new Australian study, women who reported eating 1 to 2 ounces of beef or lamb a day were half as likely to have major depression or anxiety disorder compared to those who ate less than 1 ounce daily. That may be because beef and lamb in Australia are typically grass-fed, “which means their meat is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to be protective against anxiety and depression,” says lead author Felice Jacka, Ph.D., of Deakin University’s School of Medicine.

May protect your heart

When 36 people with high cholesterol following a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes ate 4 to 5.5 ounces of lean beef a day, they lowered their “bad” LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent, writes researcher Michael Roussell, Ph.D., in the January 2012 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What’s more, the fat content—called triglycerides—inside their HDL particles decreased, which may help HDL particles to better scavenge excess cholesterol and carry it out of the bloodstream. Roussell attributes his findings to beef’s unique fat profile. Beef contains two fats—stearic acid, a saturated fat, and oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat (found in olive oil)—that have been shown to help improve cholesterol levels. However, beef also contains other kinds of saturated fat—like palmitic acid and myristic acid—that raise cholesterol.

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