Eating Lean Red Meat Can Support Heart Health

Lean cuts of meat and heart health

Too often, eating well seems to mean giving up eating things we love! On top of that, diet trends are always shifting and it’s hard to separate fad from fact. A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gave us good news on both fronts.

In the past, we’ve heard it’s a good idea to limit red meat intake. But the study found that for people who are overweight or obese, eating lean, red meat in conjunction with the Mediterranean diet—lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, poultry and olive oil—showed improvements in heart health indicators such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

During the study, all the participants followed three eating plans, in rotation:

  • Regular eating habits
  • A Mediterranean diet with a typical amount of lean, red meat (three ounces, six times a week)
  • A Mediterranean diet with a reduced amount of lean, red meat (three ounces, twice a week)

When scientists compared the results, they found participants showed improvement in cardiovascular health indicators for both of the Mediterranean diet phases. But participants had a greater reduction in cholesterol during the phase with the typical meat consumption!

If this inspires you to work more lean, red meat into your diet, we've got a list of cuts to start with.

Lean Beef Cuts

  • Eye of round
  • Top round
  • Tip round
  • Top sirloin
  • Top loin
  • Tenderloin

Lean Pork Cuts

  • Tenderloin
  • Boneless top loin chop
  • Top loin roast
  • Center loin chop
  • Sirloin roast
  • Rib chop

Pork Checkoff has helpful nutritional information on these cuts of meat.

You can find a recap of the study on Pork Checkoff.

Meat and Your Health