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Why you should eat less meat

Let’s be honest, your doctor isn’t asking you if you’re following a healthy diet just to hear himself talk. There’s a reason why nutritionists recommend you should limit your red meat consumption to no more than two 3-ounce servings a week.

Let's be honest, your doctor isn't asking you if you're following a healthy diet just to hear himself talk. There's a reason why nutritionists recommend you should limit your red meat consumption to no more than two 3-ounce servings a week, if at all. After all, time and time again red meat consumption has been associated with multiple health risks.

Now we know passing up a juicy burger at your Memorial Day barbeque this weekend isn't going to be easy, so instead of going meatless at the drop of a hat, become a part-time vegetarian. Consider joining the #meatlessmondays movement to try out vegetarianism one day a week. By doing so, you can reap these major health benefits:

To help your heart

"Fatty red meats and many processed meats are high in saturated fat, which raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases risk of coronary heart disease," says Dr. Rachel K. Johnson, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and professor of Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Vermont. More over, one study revealed a compound found in red meat (carnitine) promotes hardening and clogging of the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. The researchers found that consistently high carnitine levels were associated with a raised risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and heart-related death.

To stay in your skinny jeans

Obviously swapping a black bean burger for one with ground beef, however lean, will save you unwanted calories — but a 2010 study shows it can actually save you a few pounds too. Women's Health Magazine writer Amy Van Deusen references a large-scale study from Imperial College London which found that those who ate about 250 grams a day (the size of one half-pound steak) of red meat or processed meat gained more weight over five years than those who ate less meat, even if they consumed the same amount of calories overall.

To shrink your cancer risk

According to Van Deusen, "The Cancer Project found that foods with high levels of fat artificially boost the hormones that promote cancer."  In one study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer, those who ate the most red and processed meat were found to have the highest risk of breast cancer. In another study conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research, diets high in beef, pork and lamb were linked to increased risk for colon cancer. So, instead of sticking with steak, burgers and franks, use spices, herbs, hot peppers and sauces to get creative with healthy alternatives like fish and chicken.

To live a longer life

Grilled hot dogs and sausages may be tasty treats at ball games and picnics, but a recent study of nearly 450,000 people found that eating too much processed meat could shave years off your life. The findings by researchers of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich revealed that those who ate the most processed meat increased their risk of dying early by a whopping 44 percent. On the flip side, if people ate less processed meat, the number of premature deaths dropped by almost 3 percent. Suddenly Meatless Mondays seem like a no brainer!

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