OPINION: The Health and Wellbeing column with Heart Research UK’s Dr Helen Flaherty – tips to cut down on red meat consumption

This week, Dr Helen Flaherty, head of health promotion at Heart Research UK, is offering people some common sense tips on how to cut back on their meat consumption.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 6:40 pm
If you cook with a lot of red and processed meat try switching to chicken, turkey or fish.

Could you reduce your meat consumption?

Many red and processed meats are high in saturated fat.

Too much saturated fat in the diet can raise the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Dr Helen Flaherty, head of health promotion at Heart Research UKDr Helen Flaherty, head of health promotion at Heart Research UK

The NHS recommends a daily meat intake of no more than 70g.

Reducing your intake of red and processed meats will not only benefit your health, but it is also good for the environment.

We have some tips to help you reduce your red and processed meat consumption.

What are red, white and processed meats?

Red meat includes beef, lamb and pork and it tends to be higher in saturated fat.

White meat, such as chicken and turkey are lower in total fat and saturated fat.

Processed meat includes smoked, cured and preserved meats, such as bacon, salami, sausages and ham.

Take a break from red and processed meat every week

Don’t feel pressured to cut out all meat from your diet.

If you tend to eat red and/or processed meat most days, why not challenge yourself to one meat-free day every week?

Try searching online or in cookbooks for meat-free recipes.

You can also get some inspiration by visiting: https://www.meatfreemondays.com/

Switch to white meat or fish

If you cook with a lot of red and processed meat, or if steak is your usual option when eating out, try switching to chicken, turkey or fish instead.

This will help to reduce your saturated fat intake.

Aim to eat two portions of fish every week, one of which should be an oily fish.

Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids which help to keep your heart healthy.

Try some vegetarian alternatives

Meat substitutes, such as vegetarian sausages, mince and burgers are lower in saturated fat than equivalent meat products.

Keep an eye on food labels as some meat substitutes are high in calories and salt.

If you’re not a fan of ‘fake meat’ you could try products made with beans, pulses, and nuts as these are all good sources of protein.

Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. The organisation inspires and invests in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. In the past 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.