Skip the red meat – medical advice for your sweet heart

Sweethearts everywhere are dreaming about red this month. Especially on Valentine’s Day. But when it comes to your health, you may want to dial down your passion for some things red. Like red meat.

Medical experts have long told us that eating too much red meat can contribute to heart disease and even some cancers — in both men and women. Now a new study suggests that men who eat too much red meat may be at greater risk for a gut disorder. The disorder, called diverticulitis, can cause severe stomach pain.

The heart — or gut — of the matter
Researchers studied eating habits of 46,000 men over a 26-year period. During that time, 764 developed diverticulitis. The risk was highest among men who ate the most red meat. The results appeared last month in the online journal, Gut. (Yes, Gut.)

The study took other factors into account like:

  • Participants’ older age
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low fiber intake

But all that aside, red meat still poses a higher risk for the disorder. It’s not clear exactly why. Could be that red meat upsets the “microbiome” — or the stash of bacteria in the digestive tract.

Green is the new red
The new color of love just may be green. As in leafy greens and vegetables. In short order, experts agree, just eat more of those. Or substitute fish and poultry for red meat. You’ll set your heart — and your gut — all aglow.

Read more about the study here.

©2017 Aetna Inc.

NR_0001_7869 07/2016