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Is Meat Good for the Health?

Leena Palande May 4, 2019
If you are a meat lover and wondering whether consuming it is beneficial or not for your health, here is information on the benefits and fallouts of eating meat. It also explains about which meat is good for you and how you can avoid the ill effects of meat on your health.
There are many people who cannot imagine having a meal that does not include meat. However, in the past few decades, meat has been blamed for all sorts of diseases which is why more and more people are turning into vegetarians these days.
Undoubtedly, most of us are plagued by the following questions:
  • It is absolutely essential to include meat in the diet?
  • Is meat good for the health?
  • If yes, then how much meat is enough and when does it get too much?
Let us sort out all these questions to keep your diet healthy and balanced.

Health Benefits of Eating Meat

Meat is packed with proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats.

● We all know that protein is necessary for efficient metabolism and good functioning of all organs, therefore, we can't underestimate the value of meat as a source of protein. Scarcity of protein can badly affect the vital organs, like heart and liver. Meat also contains almost all the amino acids.
● It is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12 which enhance the functioning of the nervous system and liver. These vitamins keep the eyes, skin, and hair extremely healthy. Scarcity of B vitamins can result in anemia, memory loss, and a weak immune system.
Meat and some dairy products are considered to be the best sources of vitamin B12.
Meat is also enriched with vitamin A and D. Vitamin A is required for good vision, healthy skin, and for supporting bone and teeth development. Vitamin D promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption which is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
● Meat is enriched with minerals, such as iron, zinc, potassium, and selenium. Iron strengthens the immune system, whereas zinc controls the process of regeneration and maintains an optimal balance in the body. Selenium is required for the easy breakdown of fat and other chemicals in the body.
● Meat is loaded with healthy fats, such as linoleic acid and palmitoleic acid which play an important role in protecting the body from cancer and other harmful viruses. Good fat offers more energy and helps in improving the body's resistance to unfavorable conditions and makes it more adaptable to the surrounding environment.
Good fat is also tremendously essential for the proper development and functioning of the brain. Thus, meat can help in sharpening the brain as well.

Some Ill Effects

There are certain evidences which suggest that 'eating too much' of the 'wrong type' of meat can be problematic for some. For example, over 100 epidemiological studies have proved that there's a relationship between cancer and eating meat.
Although more studies are required to prove that consumption of meat increases the chances of having cancer, it is better to restrict the intake of meat until the facts are clear.
Whether meat is good for the health or not cannot be answered in one word. It needs a detailed explanation, and it is good when it is cooked right and the fat is cut properly. Doctors say that red meat should be eaten occasionally and it's best if it can be avoided completely.
According to the American Dietetic Association, to lower cholesterol, lean beef is as good as skinless chicken. Eating meat of animals raised on corporate factory farms is unhealthy for humans, because according to studies, animals raised in mass factory farms are fed with too many antibiotics, hormones, drugs and an unhealthy mix of pesticide-laden grains.
Animals should be raised in humane and natural (raised on pastures or grass-fed) conditions. Studies have shown that grass-fed beef contains less fat and more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), and other beneficial nutrients when compared to grain-fed beef.
Frying, searing, grilling, broiling, or cooking red meat at high temperatures triggers the production of heterocyclic amines (chemicals that may cause cancer).
There are different types of meat available and eating too much of the wrong type can increase the risk of disease contraction in most people. Meat eaters should not avoid eating other healthy foods, such as high-fiber foods, fruits, and veggies.
This is because most meat eater's diet tends to be high in calories and saturated fat and low in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc. A balanced diet is the key to a healthy life.
Processed and blackened or charred heavily grilled meats are the most problematic ones. Red meat should be cooked properly to destroy the harmful effects of E.coli bacteria and prevent diarrhea. The minimum temperature to cook red meat is 160°F.
Remember to not put the cooked meat in the same container where the uncooked meat was kept. Avoid eating any meat that has been kept in the refrigerator in the raw state for more than two days.
Similarly, including lean cuts of meat is beneficial to avoid the intake of unwanted fat that increases the risk of obesity and other related health hazards. Also, excess protein intake can have an adverse effect on the health. Therefore, knowing the daily recommended protein intake is essential to decide the amount of meat that can be included in the diet.
Raw meat diet is sometimes suggested, since overcooking destroys some necessary enzymes and proteins. However, eating raw meat can cause food poisoning and may increase the risk of salmonella infection, resulting in a severe stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea. Tapeworm infection and abdominal pain can also be experienced after eating raw meat.
Eating the right kind of meat in the right amount can contribute greatly in maintaining good health. Besides maintaining health, meat is also a crucial part of muscle-preserving diet which helps in muscle building.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.