Meat is a staple food on every continent of the world. It is very hard to name a country or a region where meat is not a regular, everyday meal. Meat products are one of the six basic food groups, and they include pork, beef, fish and different types of poultry.
There are efforts in the media to discredit the nutritional value of meat and to promote vegetarianism and veganism. We believe that meat should stay on the table, but in moderate quantities. It contains essential mineral and vitamins and gives us plenty of energy. However, moderation is essential. The recommended daily consumption of meat for an average person should be around 6 oz.
Vitamins and minerals
Meat and meat products contain a few important vitamins. Quantities are measured in traces, and the vitamins are E, B1, B2, B3, and B6. All of them play an important role in keeping us healthy and maintaining the stability of our metabolism. For example, vitamin E is a strong antioxidant. It lowers the number of free radicals which invade and damage your cells. Vitamin B1 helps you to grow strong muscles, B2 creates the essential red blood cells, and B3 makes your digestive system work perfectly.
When it comes to minerals, the most important ones found in meat are magnesium, zinc, and iron. Magnesium is a very important mineral which fortifies the integrity of your bones and iron plays a crucial role in our body. It is an integral part of hemoglobin, a molecule found in red blood cells which transport oxygen to organs and tissues. Finally, zinc helps us maintain a strong immune system.
Most of us heard about this property of meat, namely that it contains important proteins which we cannot find in other food groups. These are called complete proteins, and our bodies need them to keep our muscles, hair, bones, skin, and organs healthy. Proteins are important to the organism as a whole because they manufacture new cells.
Saturated and unsaturated fats
The first thing we usually think about when we hear the word “fat” is how to avoid them. But, you should know that certain kinds of fats have a very good effect on our overall health. For example, Omega 3 fatty acids lower cholesterol, help manage blood pressure and triglyceride levels. They will help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The most common sources of omega 3’s are certain fish: herring, trout and especially salmon.
On the other hand, saturated fats are something to avoid. These are commonly found in pork, beef, lamb and organ meat like liver. This is what we usually call red meats, and we should learn to control the intake of these products. Try to go for leaner cuts of steak or roast and make sure you avoid the chicken skin. All in all, meat is an important part of our diet, but a little bit of moderation when it comes to meat is essential.