If you keep an eye on headlines, you may have noticed the unappetizing pink processed meat slime served up in school cafeterias recently in the news. With this in mind, the findings of the Harvard School of Public Health are particularly concerning. In a press release, the Harvard School of Public Health announced finding increased mortality rates related to the consumption of red meat, especially processed meat. The good news coming out of the study is the lowered mortality risk associated with substituting healthy protein options including nuts and legumes.
According to the Harvard study, one serving of red meat per day related to a 13% increased risk of death, and one serving of processed meat per day related to a 20% increase. Red meat and processed meat contain ingredients linked to greater risk of chronic diseases, including heme iron, saturated fat, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking. According to Harvard Professor Frank Hu:
“This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death. On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality.”
The study suggests substituting a serving of red meat with a healthier alternative to lower risk of mortality. The figures for lowered risk are: 7% for fish, 14% for poultry, 19% for nuts, 10% for legumes, 10% for low-fat dairy products, and 14% for whole grains. It was estimated that 9.3% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women could have been prevented if all the participants in the study had consumed less than half a serving of red meat each day. This would be a serving of read meat less than half the size of a deck of playing cards.
One option to know you are eating healthy food is to grow your own fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse. Greenhouses and greenhouse kits are great additions to home gardens. Potted fruit and nut trees can be brought into a greenhouse for cold months and returned outside when it’s warmer. Vegetables thrive year round in greenhouses. Consider planting healthy legumes to grow a healthy protein alternative to red meat and processed meats. With food you grow in your own greenhouse, you can improve the quality of the food you eat and reduce your risk of mortality.