Red meat holds a controversial position in the world of food. Many have subscribed to other methods for getting protein and exclude red meat entirely from their diets. Studies have shown that red meat is linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Still, nutritionists everywhere are now disproving this by bringing to light one important fact: Red meat has essential nutritional value, but red meat today is not the same as red meat centuries ago. Here are some ways you can continue eating red meat in a way that is beneficial to your health.
It’s not that red meat isn’t nutritious, but it’s how it’s being raised and prepared that is causing harmful effects on humans. How livestock is raised and how the meat arrives on our plates is not the same as it was when we were hunters and gatherers.
Nowadays, the meat we eat has probably been raised on a diet of grain, antibiotics, and growth hormones. If we are what we eat, shouldn’t we contemplate what the animal has eaten before eating it? The meat lovers at Cleavers organic free range beef say a grass-fed cow is undoubtedly your best option as far as nutritional value goes. The most fundamental factor to consider when eating any kind of meat is its diet and the environment it was raised in.
Cows once lived off wild plants and were all free-range, and that is how they were supposed to be raised and fed. They were and still are a valuable food source to humans, but not if mass-produced the way they are today. Even after the animals have been slaughtered, some meats are overly processed afterward with preservatives.
They will almost always be treated with nitrates to stop bacteria’s growth and give the meat a more appealing color and flavor. But there are adverse side effects to these chemicals, and many of them are linked to cancer. So nutrition experts are now acknowledging that it’s not red meat that is the issue, but the livestock industry and chemical use. The bottom line, if you still want to enjoy a meaty diet, go organic.
Cut Back on Portion Size and Frequency
Red meat actually contains a lot of nutrients that are vital to human health, such as B12, B3, B6, Zinc, Iron, Selenium. However, some studies prove poor health can be linked to eating 50 to 100 grams of red meat per day. Since red meat offers many nutritional benefits, decreasing the amount of red meat you eat per day is a better solution. The Department of Health advises that you eat 70kg or less of (any) meat per day. Harvard Health suggests that a few meat-free days is also a good idea.
Trim the Fat
Trim the fat in the literal sense, not the figurative one. Many types of meat, not just red meat, contain a lot of fat. Purchasing leaner meats rather than streaky bacon is a way you can still get your savory fix without all the fats. Meats like salami, pate, and sausage are also high in fat and salt. Saturated fats are known to cause high cholesterol, which can then lead to heart disease.
Being wary of the fat content of the meat you buy is just as important as your method of preparation. Cut off the white fatty parts, and grill meat instead of frying it. Also, avoid adding fat or oils to the meat when you’re cooking. When making stews or casserole, thin out the meat portions by adding more vegetables.
For organic free-range, grass-fed animal products that are not given antibiotics or treated with nitrates, it is even more imperative that they are appropriately stored. This will decrease the spread of harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning. Make sure your meats are stored in a drawer or on the bottom shelf where their juices cannot drip onto other foods. Any meats that you’re not going to eat right away should be kept cold in a refrigerator or freezer. Never eat meat that is expired, and make sure you freeze meats before their expiry date.
Cutting red meat completely out of your diet neglects certain nutrients that your body needs to function well. A good rule of thumb is that almost everything should be done in moderation, and food is included in that. There are many benefits to eating fruit, but there’s too much sugar in it for it to still be considered nutritious if you eat copious amounts of it. The same goes for meats. Make sure your plates are colorful and well-balanced, and you can rest assured that you can be healthy without cutting meat from your diet.
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