It's an unpleasant fact of life: red meat is simply not the best thing for you. There are a variety of reasons behind this, but one of the foremost is that red meat, when eaten in improper or excessive quantities, may harm your overall heart health over time. What this means, of course, is that to maintain a high level of health and fitness as well as ensure our longevity, it's often necessary to do some critical thinking about our dietary choices and revise our nutrition plans.

Red meat can be hard to get away from, though, as it's found just about everywhere in traditional American meals. Whether you're looking for a good reason to alter your diet or simply need a bit of motivation to keep you going on your healthy-eating path, take a look at these tips for limiting your consumption of red meat to a healthier level:

Replace it

Red meat is everywhere in America. This is particularly true for those of us who frequent fast-food restaurants that are so popular. It's in our burgers, our ribs, our sandwiches, on our pizzas… virtually all over. This can make moving away from a red-meat-intensive diet seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't need to be this way. One of the best things you can do to limit your red meat intake is to simply replace it with other, healthier protein sources. As the American Heart Association reports, chicken, fish and beans are all plentiful sources of protein, much like red meat, but they do not come with the same issues. Try finding meals to replace your favorite dishes that involve more of these three foods, making it easier for you to make healthy choices wherever you're eating.

Be aware of the potential damage

One of the best ways to break a bad habit, such as overconsumption of red meat, is by thoroughly educating yourself regarding exactly what that habit does to your body. says that eating a diet with too much red meat in it may harden your blood vessels, increase your risk for foodborne illnesses such as E. coli or salmonella, damage your colon over time and even increase your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. Next time you feel compelled to indulge in a greasy burger, think about these potential consequences and opt for something healthier instead.

Treat yourself

Of course, you don't need to eliminate red meat from your diet entirely (though there are certainly a number of possible benefits to be reaped from doing so). Rather, replace most red meat in your diet with something like salmon, which contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart and cholesterol levels. Only indulge in red meat occasionally, and when you do, try to consume only organically raised, lean cuts. These are available at most grocers and typically don't cost too much more.

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