When we think of read meat, the first thing that comes to mind is probably protein. Red meat is one of the most eaten foods in the world, you would hardly make a dish and not have some good-looking red wonder gracing the meal.
Meats are a wonderful protein source, as well as amino acids and essential nutrients . They are healthy. On the other hand, they can also be filled with saturated fat and cholesterol, this is not entirely a good thing. What this means is that there are both advantages and disadvantages of red meat , and it should be eaten with caution.
But can we talk about what red meat is and identify some of the red meats we are most likely familiar with?
What Is Red Meat ?
Simply put, red meat is meat that is usually red when raw. It often takes on a darker color after it is cooked, unlike the white meat that remains the same, cooked or not.
From another angle, the flesh of mammals are referred to as red meat.
From yet another angle, red meat is meat that contains more protein myoglobin , white meat is not as rich in this.
Examples of red meat include:
- Chevron – the meat from goat
- Cabrito – the meat from a kid
- Beef – Cow meat
- Pork – Pig meat
- Lamb and Mutton
- Veal – Calf meat
- Venison – the meat from deer
There are kinds of meat that fall under both red and white meat with different classification techniques. The pork for example, is classified as white meat using the gastronomic definition i.e. the colour of the meat. Using the nutritional definition however, it falls under red meat i.e. it is rich in protein myoglobin.
As nutritionally healthy as red meat is, research has also found side effects that could occur as a result of red meat, especially when over-eaten.
This section will begin with the pros of red meat before moving to its cons.
A good source of Protein : Protein is usually referred to as one of the essential building blocks of the body. It is important to keep all the body processes functioning properly while also replacing worn out tissues. The tiniest amount of meat, including red meat is a rich source of protein.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals : Vitamin D and B12 are needed in order to perform properly. Red meat is a great source of these essential nutrients. Other nutrients that are found in meat are B-complex vitamins such as Riboflavin, Thiamine, Niacin and minerals like Zinc, Selenium and iron. Zinc improves the function of the immune system and helps in DNA synthesis. Iron aids transportation of oxygen by the red blood cells also known as erythrocytes. Vitamin B6 boosts immune system, Vitamin B12 helps the nervous system function properly.
- May Protect from Depression : An Australian study carried out on different women reported that the ones who had consumed at least one ounce of red meat were less likely to be taken over by anxiety disorders or depression when compared with the ones who consumed far less meat. Beef and lamb especially , contains omega-3 because the animals the meat come from feed on grass. Omega-3 is known to guard against depression and anxiety .
- Protects the heart : A study carried out on thirty six people who had high cholesterol levels found that their unhealthy cholesterol levels dropped by ten percent after consistently consuming about five ounces of red meat daily. Beef, for example, contains oleic acid and stearic acid, a monosaturated and saturated fat respectively. They help to stabilize the cholesterol levels in the body
- Chemical Poisoning : Cooking meat at extremely high temperatures can lead to chemical reactions that can produce poisonous compounds. This is also the case for processed meat like hotdogs and salami. In cases of grilling , when a part drips into the fire under, harmful compounds known as heterocyclic amines are produced and find their way back into the meat. The harmful compounds produced could lead to bowel or stomach cancer. To curb the possibilities of this, add rosemary to the marinade before going ahead with the grilling. Also resist the urge to eat the crunchy, charred particles.
- Excessive Sodium : Sodium, although good for the health becomes a risk when introduced into the body in large quantities.Processed meat or excessively salted meat contains excessive amounts of sodium. The presence of excessive sodium in the body could lead to a stroke, kidney issues and heart disease. Meat not salt-treated are recommended as they are much lower in sodium compared to processed meat like sausages, bacon and ham which are discouraged. This is to say processed meats are the unsafest kind.
- Saturated Fats and Cholesterol : Although fat is needed for proper body function , excessive intake could have adverse effects on the body. Red meat is high in saturated fats and cholesterol which are both good and bad. When in excess, saturated fats could block the arteries , causing health complications. Sticking to meats with low fat and avoiding those with higher fat like the liver will help you stay healthier. Taking so much red meat, or infact any protein which has its source as animals, is unhealthy as it contains a lot of trans fat. It triggers the liver to produce an amount of cholesterol greater than that needed by the body.The unused cholesterol can pose a threat to the health . It is recommended that 11-13 grams of fat is good enough for a day, nothing more . For cholesterol, 300mg is recommended.
If you paid attention throughout the article, you would notice that excessive intake of red meat and moderation are the center of attraction. You will not die from just eating red meat, the key is moderation. Still though, try to eat more of lean meats like fish and chicken, as it is healthier. Whether you eat red meat or not, that would not be the center of your health as there is so much more to healthy eating and healthy living. Regularly exercising, eating other healthy food, cutting down on sugar intake or junk generally and worrying less, added to moderate red meat consumption will do much more than completely cutting off red meat from your diet while shying away from exercises, eating a lot of junk and getting stressed out in your body and mind. In the end, your health is in a combination of your physical activities, mental activities and dietary choices.