This one change will protect your arteries

It's a diagnosis that can -- and should -- change your life.

When you've been told you have peripheral artery disease, it's not enough to make those changes tomorrow... because PAD will increase your risk of heart attack and stroke TODAY.

That's the bad news.

But you know me. I'm not a bad news kind of guy.

I've got GOOD news -- because it's easy to make some quick changes right now that can help you live a long and healthy life even if you have PAD.

And you can start with something you know you should be doing anyway: cut back on the red meat.

I'm not saying give it up completely.

I know better than to try to stand between a red-blooded carnivore and a thick, juicy steak!

But you do have to cut back some, because the latest research shows how eating too much of it is a recipe for disaster -- and if you don't cut back right now, your risk of an early death could double.

The problem, in this case, isn't anything in the meat itself so much as what happens as you digest it.

The bacteria that breaks it all down ends up pumping out a byproduct called trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO.

Think of TMAO as Velcro.

It coats your artery walls and then latches onto cholesterol and other junk as it tries to pass through, causing the buildups that lead to narrow, harder arteries.

And if you have PAD, you can't afford to let your arteries get harder or more narrow -- because that's what leads to a heart attack or stroke.

As a result, the new study finds that folks with PAD who have the highest TMAO levels have the highest risk of dying from their condition over five years.

Now, like I said, I'm not here to ruin your dinner. If you really want a steak, go ahead and treat yourself to one.

The key word here is "treat," as in something to be eaten sparingly. Limit your red meat to once or twice a week and keep the portions smaller and leaner. In addition, limit full-fat dairy (including cheese) and eggs, as they can also raise your TMAO levels.

And while you're making changes to your diet, here are two other tweaks that can help.

First, boost your fiber intake. It helps your gut bacteria work more efficiently and cuts TMAO levels at the same time.

And second, consider a supplement with the antioxidant resveratrol, as research published earlier this year finds it can sweep through your arteries and clear out the TMAO.