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Is Red Meat Healthy?

June 7th, 2012 · No Comments ·
 
 

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Sugary drinks, red meat, salty junk food are part of developed countries diet.  Today, let’s just look at red meat.

People who eat red meat have higher risk of developing colon cancer, b2east cancer, prostate cancer and heart disease.  So, if someone tell you that red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, no joke, it is true.  Meat that falls under red meat category include beef and pork which can be in processed form like bacon, ham, hot dogs and steak.  Here are few reasons why red meat is unhealthy:

  1. Red meat is high in saturated fat which is associated with cholesterol.
  2. To make thing3 more complex, the way red meat is cooked affect its nutritional value.  Cooking it at high temperatures like grilling, frying or searing is not recommended because it the meat produces chemicals that may cause cancer.
  3. If red meat is processed, a number of additives including sodium nitrite (preservative linked to cancer) is used. So, avoid ham (pig’s meat from the leg or shoulder, preserved with salt or smoke), bacon (meat from the back or sides of a pig which is often eaten fried) and salami (a large sausage made fromkmeat and spices which has a strong taste and is usually eaten cold in slices).

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So, after reading what I mentioned, you may be now discouraged to eat red meat.  Actually, red meat is rich in protein, zinc, selenium, vitamin B and iron.  Teenage girls and pregnant women require iron.  We also need vitamin B to keep our nerve and red blood cells healthy whereas zinc is needed to keep our immune system functioning properly.  Red meat contains “complete” protein which means, it contains all the amino acids that the body cannot make on its own.  Just bear in mind that when I talk about the health benefits of red meat, it is important to note that I am referring to lean red meat and not just simply any portion of the meat.

Therefore, to avoid nutrient deficiency, you still need to eat it to get nutrition which you do not get from other foods, but in a smaller amount and less frequent.  I suggest you to:

  1. Have it once or twice a week and make sure you have it with vegetables.
  2. Go for lean or extra lean varieties to ensure it has less fat.  Rule of thumb, look for the label with “loin” in the name such as sirloin top steak, top sirloin, pork tenderloin or lamb loin chops.  If you are a beef lover, you may want to know that grass-fed beef is leaner than grain fed.
  3. Trim fat from meat before cooking.
  4. When you grill red meat, cook over medium heat rather than over high heat. If you are preparing steaks, go for 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Do not overcook red meat.  Well done meat actually contains more cancer causing compounds.  Still, you need to make sure the meat is well cooked to a safe internal temperatures to kill bacteria.
  6. Before you eat the grilled or fried red meat, remove the charred (burnt and black) pieces.
  7. You may want to partially cook the meat in the oven or microwave before finishing on the grill.

Some say you have to be a vegetarian to be healthy.  I believe that you can still be healthy being a non-vegetarian, with a balanced diet which consists of low intake of lean red meat.  Make sure you fill half a plate with vegetables and quarter with meat.

By the way, pork is red meat.  Why?  Because it contains more myoglobin than chicken and fish.  Myoglobin is a protein in meat that holds oxygen in the muscle.  White meat include fish, chicken and turkey.
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Category: Nutrition


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