Leaner Meat Choices for Heart Health

Our bodies need protein, which is made up of various amino acids. There are several essential amino acids that we need for optimal health that our bodies cannot make, which is why we need to get them from our diets. Meat is an excellent source of these essential amino acids.

We all need protein to maintain our health, but the obsession with meat, especially red meat, in our country has led to people eating way too much-saturated fat, which contributes to heart disease. There are plenty of excellent sources of protein found in leaner meat choices, which not only taste great but are also full of nutrients that your body needs.

Less than 10 percent of your diet should come from saturated fats, and yet the average American eats significantly more than this. Too much of this type of fat raises serum cholesterol levels, contributes to atherosclerosis, and can lead to heart disease. Limiting your daily intake of meat to only sources that are lean and low in fat will help keep you healthy and ensure the longevity of your heart.

The meats highest in fat include beef, pork, and lamb, but there are leaner cuts of these that are acceptable to eat on a limited basis. Ensuring that you remove any visible fat from these animal sources before cooking significantly lowers the amount of saturated fat in your final dish. But there are also plenty of meat choices that are naturally low in fat, and these should comprise the bulk of your meat diet.

For example, chicken and turkey without the skin are both excellent sources of lean protein. When buying poultry, avoid those that have been injected with broth or other liquids, as they can have added fats and salt. Some game meats, including bison and venison, are also extremely low in saturated fat and make excellent meat choices. All types of fish and seafood are healthy options, especially those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your levels of “good” cholesterol.

In addition to choosing the right meats, it is important that you prepare your meat correctly to avoid adding extra fat to your meal. Baking, broiling, stewing, grilling, stir-frying, and roasting without added fat are all preferable methods of preparing meat.

Meat that is fried, sautéed, or made with sauces that are heavy in fat can turn any healthy cut of meat into an unhealthy dish. If you want to use meat juices to create a sauce or soup, you should first chill the juices to harden excess fat, which can then be skimmed from the top before making your final dish.

You can also get plenty of protein from non-meat sources, including low-fat dairy products, eggs, and plant-based sources like beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, and tempeh.

Advice for Meat Lovers Who Want Better Heart Health

Eating meat is not inherently unhealthy, but you must consume it in limited amounts and choose the right types of meat to protect your heart’s health. A portion of meat is only 2-3 ounces, and most people eat twice that in one meal.

After you have finished cooking, pour off any melted fat that has come out of the meat before eating. When selecting meat, always purchase cuts with the least visible fat. Those labeled as “select” and “choice” will be lower in fat than “prime” or other grades.

Avoid processed and cured meats, like bacon, sausage, and deli meats, as these are often extremely high in fat as well as salt and other preservatives that can damage your heart health.

Making the switch to leaner sources of protein is an excellent way to care for your heart health and live a longer, healthier life.

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