Eat well, live long…

A long-term study of over 120,000 people whose eating habits and health were followed for up to 28 years revealed that red meat consumption increases overall mortality as well as the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. The study also focused on the intake of other food groups and investigated the effects of substituting red meat for protein-rich foods like nuts, pulses, poultry, fish, wholegrains and dairy products. Both processed and unprocessed red meats were associated with an increased risk of total, CVD and cancer mortality. The risk of total mortality increased by 13 per cent for each serving of unprocessed red meat per day and by a whopping 20 per cent for processed meat. In the analyses of substituting red meat with another food group daily, replacing one serving of total red meat with one serving of nuts (26-30g/1oz or one small handful) reduced the risk of total mortality by an impressive 19 per cent. Pulses (one serving is 40-70g/1.5-2.5oz uncooked weight, 100-135g/4-5oz cooked weight) reduced the risk by ten per cent while wholegrains (a slice of wholemeal bread, half a cup of cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa or bulgur, half of a pita bread, half a cup of wholemeal pasta or 30g/1.2oz cereal) reduced it by 14 per cent. Nuts and seeds are not only very healthy and full of vital nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, but they are also very versatile. Eat them as a healthy snack on their own or together with dried fruits or add them in a salad, risotto, pasta dish, etc. Use nut or seed butters in sandwiches or bake a delicious nut roast.

Pan, A. et al., 2012. Red Meat Consumption and Mortality. Archives of Internal Medicine. 172 (7) 555-563.