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Meat Hikes Hypertension Risk by 35%

Regular consumption of red meat raises a number of health risks, ranging from cancers of the lung, prostate, pancreas  and colon to endometriosis and asthma.  Now, new research suggests even moderate meat consumption could significantly increase your chances of developing high blood pressure as well.

A 10-year study of nearly 29,000 women found that those with the highest red meat consumption had a 35% increased risk of hypertension. Given that this group was eating at least two pounds of red meat a week, that might not strike you as surprising. But consider the fact that eating red meat just a couple of times a week conferred a 24% increased risk, and you might want to redefine your concept of “moderation.”

High saturated fat content is among the factors which could raise blood pressure, but fast food and processed meats are also loaded with salt. Experts say a mere 15% reduction in salt could translate into nearly 9 million fewer deaths caused by the complications brought on by hypertension. In addition to limiting salt and red meat, substitute other protein sources like fish, and include more vegetable protein choices, like grains, beans and nuts.

Bonus: Lace up to lower blood pressure! Japanese researchers found that three 25-minute walks a week could be enough to make medication unnecessary for some hypertension sufferers. Watch our video featuring anti-aging expert Dr. Michael Roizen to learn more about managing blood pressure.

Published February 1, 2009

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