We often talk about happiness and well-being on the blog, or how to reduce your depression or cope with anxiety here. But none of that’s going to do you a whole lot of good if your life is cut short by making daily unhealthy food choices.

So while I don’t usually write about general health topics here, occasionally a piece of research rises to the level of demanding our attention. And the research published yesterday linking red meat to a higher risk of death over the study’s 10 year period of time is just such research.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly (aged 50 to 71) Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

That’s a pretty significant number — 30 percent more likely to die. Just from eating red meat daily.

Now, there may be some other third factor not measured that offers an alternative explanation for this finding. But the researchers did take into account obvious third factors (like smoking and physical activity). This finding is not particularly unique in research that’s looked at the connection between red meat and health problems, but is the first to directly connect such daily consumption with a higher risk of death.

“The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality,” said Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In contrast, routine consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount.

So my healthy take-away from this is to seriously cut down on my own personal red meat and processed meat consumption. It’s a difficult thing to do, but I think reducing my chances of death by such significant amounts is a good thing.

It doesn’t mean I’ll cut red meat out of my diet completely. Just avoid eating it — and other processed meats like cold cuts, hot dogs or sausage — every day.

Read the full article: Daily Red Meat Raises Chances Of Dying Early.