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Red Meat

Why it’s OK: Lean red meat is a protein powerhouse, as well as one of the best sources of hard-to-get nutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

When to indulge: According to a 2010 study in the journal "Meat Science," moderate consumption of lean red meat as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to increase the risk for heart disease and colon cancer. How is that possible? Studies don’t always differentiate between the types of red meat being researched. David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, recommends choosing your red meat wisely. Steer clear of processed meat and fatty cuts. Instead, opt for grass-fed lean beef, bison or game meat like venison, which has more heart-healthy omega-3 fats and less saturated fat. Keep your meat eating to no more than two servings a week.

Don’t overdo it: High in saturated fat, red meat has been linked to everything from heart disease and diabetes to colon cancer and premature death.

(Credit: Smith Collection/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
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