Red meat is among the most debated foods in nutrition. Despite its consumption throughout evolution, many people believe that it can cause harm.
So lets have a look at its effects on health…
Red meat is a highly nutritious food, loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein:RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
A 100 gram or 3.5 ounce portion of raw beef (10% fat) contains:
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 25% RDA
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 37% of RDA (unattainable from plant foods)
Iron: 12% of RDA – high quality Iron better absorption than plant sources.
Zinc: 32% of RDA
Selenium 24% of RDA
175 calories, 20g of protein 10g of fat
Red meat is rich in Creatine and Carnosine, essential for muscle and brain health; non meat eaters are often deficient in these two. Choosing grass fed beef over grain fed is preferable, since the first contains lots of omega 3 and CLA fatty acid and have been raised organically, without drugs and hormones.
The consequences of consuming too much meat: Studies have linked excessive meat consumption with higher risk of developing cancer. Pancreatic cancer, in particular, has been linked to heavy meat consumption. Meat also contains lots of saturated fat and cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease.
The danger lies in processed meats, such as hot dogs, often contain nitrate, a potential carcinogenic and heterocylic amines or HCAs, during high-temperature cooking. Meat may also contain high levels of hormones, which can trigger reproductive problems and early-onset puberty in children.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that adults eat 5 to 6 ounces of meat per day. Eating more poultry and pork can help lower your risk. Serving smaller portions of meat at meals and eating higher quality cuts of meat, in smaller portions, can help curb meat cravings without health risks.
Non-meat sources of protein: beans, legumes, whole grains and dairy products all contain protein, along with nuts, seeds, eggs and soy foods. Fish and seafood don’t carry the same risks as do red meat, pork and poultry, because they are so low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
People don’t need to give up red meat but have to make better selections in the type of meat they eat and the portions. Look for those with “loin” in the name: Sirloin tip steak, top sirloin, pork tenderloin, lamb loin chops, round steaks and bottom round; filet mignon; flank steak, and arm roasts.
High-temperature cooking meats, including red meat, poultry, and fish can generate compounds in food that may increase cancer risk (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).
To prevent or reduce your exposure to them, follow these guidelines:
Choose lean red meat cuts when grilling to reduce the chance of heavy smoke, which can leave carcinogens on the meat.
If grilling, cook over medium heat or indirect heat, rather than over high heat. Limit frying and broiling, which also subject meat to high temperatures.
Don’t overcook meat. Well-done meat contains more of the cancer-causing compounds. But make sure that meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses..
Marinades may reduce the formation of HCAs. Choose one without sugar, which can cause flare-ups and char the meat’s surface.
Trim fat from meat before cooking, and remove any charred pieces before eating.
Lastly, meat impacts the environment more than any other food we eat, because livestock require much more land, food, water, and energy than plants to raise and transport.
Producing a four-ounce (quarter pound) hamburger, requires 7 pounds of grain and forage, 53 gallons of drinking water and irrigating feed crops, 75 square feet for grazing and growing feed crops, and 1,036 BTUs for feed production and transport – enough to power a microwave for 18 minutes!
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