Iron in Red Meat Tied to Heart Disease Risk

A regular diet of hamburger may not be wise for your ticker.

Posted: 05/01/2014 10:11 AM EDT

A kind of iron found in red meat has been linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease, new research concludes.

Researchers analyzed 21 studies of more than 292,000 people for an average of 10 years. They discovered a link between consuming heme iron—found only in red meat—and a 57 percent increased risk of heart disease.

“Heme iron is absorbed at a much greater rate in comparison to non-heme iron [37 percent vs. 5 percent],” the researchers said in an Indiana University School of Public Health news release. “Once absorbed, it may contribute as a catalyst in the oxidation of [bad cholesterol], causing tissue-damaging inflammation.” This inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease.

Though the analysis didn’t establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red meat and heart disease, the findings suggest avoiding a red meat-heavy diet.

The consumption of non-heme iron, found in vegetables and iron supplements, was not associated with a higher heart disease risk.

Read more about the heart disease risk iron poses at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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