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Replacing Red Meat with Healthy Plant Proteins can Decrease Risk for Heart Disease

According to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Purdue University, diets that replaced red meat with healthy plant proteins led to decreases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study is the first meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the health effects of red meat by substituting it for other specific types of foods.

“Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent. But our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors,” said Marta Guasch-Ferré, a research scientist in the Department of Nutrition and lead author of the study.

The study included data from 36 trials involving 1,803 participants. The researchers compared people who ate diets with red meat with people who ate more of other types of foods (e.g., chicken, fish, carbohydrates, or plant proteins such as legumes, soy, or nuts), looking at blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins, and blood pressure – all risk factors for CVD.

Research showed that when diets containing red meat were compared to all other types of diets combined, there were no significant differences in total cholesterol, lipoproteins, or blood pressure, but did result in increased triglyceride concentrations. Researchers also found that diets that included higher amounts of high-quality plant protein such as legumes, soy, and nuts resulted in lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when compared to diets with red meat.

These results are consistent with long-term epidemiologic studies showing decreased risk of heart attacks when comparing nuts and other plant protein sources to red meat, the authors said. The findings also suggest that inconsistencies found in prior studies regarding the effects of red meat on cardiovascular risk factors may be due, in part, to the composition of the comparison diet. The authors recommend adherence to healthy vegetarian and Mediterranean-style diets, not only for the health benefits, but also to promote environmental sustainability.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2019, April 9). Substituting healthy plant proteins for red meat lowers the risk for heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

Stroke Symptoms

F.A.S.T. Warning Signs

F = Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Does their smile appear uneven?

A = Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech Difficulty: Is the person’s speech slurred?

T = Time: If the symptoms above are present, it’s time to call 911

Other sudden stroke symptoms include:
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech.
  • Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

If you or someone near you is experiencing stroke symptoms, act F.A.S.T. and call 911 to seek treatment immediately.
American Heart Association. Stroke Symptoms. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

Mental Health Moment

9 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma

Talk openly about mental health: Mental illness touches many lives and is still considered by some to be something to hide. Being brave and sharing your story can encourage others to learn about and accept mental health conditions.

Educate yourself and others about mental health: Challenge others respectfully when they propagate stereotypes and misconceptions about mental illness.

Be conscious of your language: Certain words are already considered offensive and disrespectful, but are still commonly used today. By mediating our vocabulary, we can reduce the stigma and negative connotations attached to mental health.

Encourage equality in how people perceive physical illness and mental illness: By speaking of mental illness in the same terms as physical illnesses, we encourage others to take mental illness more seriously and compassionately.

Show empathy and compassion for those living with a mental health condition: Loving and respecting people means having a desire to learn more about who they are, what their life is like, and where they come from.

Stop the criminalization of those who live with mental illness: Talk with families, neighborhood groups, and health professionals about how to interact with someone affected by mental illness.

Eliminate unfair depictions of mental illness in the media: Speak out against those who deflect real social issues with simplified explanations of mental illness or by minimizing its significance.

See the person, not the illness: Talk about your family and friends who may be suffering from mental illnesses with an open heart, love, and respect, any time a conversation invites the opportunity.

Advocate for mental health reform: Empower others by writing to your legislators, talking to local officials, and fighting for continued mental health funding.

National Alliance on Mental Health. Nine Ways to Fight Stigma. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

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This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional. © 2007, 2010, 2013-2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.