Lately, there’s been a lot of negative press surrounding red meat. Everywhere you look, there’s an article or piece of research suggesting that red meat is somehow bad for your health:
“Red meat causes cancer”
“Red meat linked to increased incidences of heart disease”
“Eating more red meat may shorten your life”
New research, however, suggests that not only is red meat good for you, there is absolutely no proof that red meat causes cancer or other serious health conditions.
Call us biased, but we’re inclined to agree. Red meat has been a staple component of the Western diet for centuries, with evidence to suggest that animal protein played a pivotal role in human evolution.
With that in mind, we thought we’d set the record straight by taking a look at the numerous health benefits of eating red meat as part of well-balanced diet.
Red Meat is Highly Nutritious –
Red meat contains a wide range of important nutrients that contribute to overall health and wellbeing. Beef alone contains high amounts of the following vitamins and minerals:
– Vitamin B12
– Vitamin B6
Whilst many of these nutrients occur naturally in a variety of plants, vitamin B-12 in particular is only found naturally in animal products.
The importance of B-12 in the human diet cannot be overstated, a deficiency of which can lead to weakness, fatigue and various nerve problems.
The type of iron contained in red meat is another compelling reason to stock up on your favourite cuts of beef, lamb or pork.
Heme-iron, which is only found in meat, poultry and seafood, is absorbed better by the body than non-heme iron, the type found in plants.
Red Meat is a Great Source of Protein –
Needless to say, red meat is chock full of protein, which is used by the body to build and repair tissue.
What you may not know is that protein plays an important part in the production of hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals as-well.
There’s a lot of news out there that suggests that plant protein is just as effective and efficient as animal protein, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
EAAs, which are required to help build muscle and also act as precursors for a number of neurotransmitters in the brain, cannot be created in the body and can only be obtained from food or effective supplementation.
Red meat contains all 9 essential amino acids, which means it is a complete protein source. In comparison, plants are incomplete as they lack all nine EAAs.
Red Meat Can Help Beat Depression –
Red meat is one of the best foods you can eat to beat depression and maintain optimal mental health.
A study carried out in Australia in 2012 found that women who ate less than the daily recommended allowance of red meat were twice as likely to develop anxiety or depression.
Another study carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol found that men that ate a predominantly vegetarian or vegan diet were more prone to depression than meat eaters.
The reason for this is down to the nutritional make up of red meat, which is high in iron, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc, all of which work together to help stave off depression.
The Fat Found in Red Meat is Actually Good for You –
For years we’ve been told that fat and saturated fat are bad for you, however red meat, beef and venison in particular, are high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
CLA is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, the benefits of which are numerous. For instance, studies have shown that CLA can help people lose weight, build muscle, fight inflammation and boost their immune systems.
Saturated fat is also good for you in moderation, helping to promote liver health, boost the immune system and strengthen bones.
The Bottom Line –
There’s no denying that red meat is good for you, a nutrient and protein dense food source that contributes to overall health and mental wellbeing.
As with everything in life, moderation is key, as is the quality of the meat you’re eating. That said, it is perfectly safe to eat 3-4 portions of good quality red meat per week, as part of a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.