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What Are the Negative Effects of Eating Too Much Red Meat?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

A National Institutes of Health-AARP study found older Americans who ate large amounts of red meat over a 10-year period were more likely to die sooner than those who consumed smaller amounts. Chandler elderly care experts believe seniors should maintain healthy diets, which may include reducing the amount of daily red meat intake. Understanding the potential risks your elderly loved one can face may encourage him or her to make some dietary adjustments.

Cardiovascular Disease

Red meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease. However, the risk does not stop there. Red meat also contains a compound known as carnitine. When the digestive system breaks down this compound, it turns into trimethylamine-N-oxide. This substance has been linked to atherosclerosis, which creates plaque buildup in the arteries and causes them to harden and become less elastic. Both of these factors increase your loved one’s risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Colon Cancer

One U.S. study of nearly 150,000 seniors aged 50 to 74 showed those who consumed large amounts of red meat had a significantly higher incidence of colon and rectal cancer. Those who ate primarily fish and poultry instead had a much lower risk. In fact, long-term consumption of these other proteins appeared to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s

Scientists at UCLA have uncovered a possible link between Alzheimer’s disease and iron accumulation in the brain. When these scientists studied the brains of 31 people with Alzheimer’s, they discovered high levels of iron buildup in the parts of the brain damaged by the disease. Red meat is extremely high in iron and could contribute to the accumulation of iron in your loved one’s brain tissue.

Indeterminate Effects from Added Substances

Unless your loved one buys organic, most meats he or she purchases have been pumped full of antibiotics and steroids, which is done primarily to ward off disease. The Food and Drug Administration has approved these substances individually. However, there are no studies that look at the long-term effects of these substances on humans when used in combination. We also don’t know how they react in conjunction with other chemicals and substances people consume on a daily basis.

If your loved one needs help maintaining a healthy diet, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can prepare nutritious meals and also help with a wide variety of daily tasks like exercise and grocery shopping. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Chandler seniors can rely on. For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.