Researchers say even those with several risk factors for heart disease can quickly lower the risk by up to 1/3 by just saying no to a burger, and yes to chicken or fish.

The study is the first one that looks at even lean cuts of red meat, minimal fat, and says people really are better off with different types of protein.

“Right off the bat let me say a juicy burger is not poison. But some simple swap outs are more heart healthy than we thought,” CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida said.

Red meat is loaded with protein and minerals, but also tends to be a little fattier than most things. Yet the new research finds it’s not only the saturated fat in red meat that will clog up the pipes in a heart. It’s also chemicals such as heme and heterocyclic amines that aren’t so heart healthy.

The 26-year study of more than 84,000 women found simple substitutions can keep the heart pumping. Women who had chicken or turkey rather than red meat just once a day cut their risk of a heart attack by 19 percent. Substitute low fat dairy cuts it 13 percent. Fish is even better at 24 percent and a serving a nuts as a protein source cut heart attacks by 30 percent.

In the study eggs did not raise the risk of heart disease, and even though the researchers did not look at vegetables it’s known that beans, broccoli and asparagus are excellent sources of protein.

“When we talk about red meat it’s not just a burger, it’s also lunch meat, processed meat and so forth. Simple changes is what it’s all about,” Hnida said.


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