There are many health benefits of eating meat; poultry and red meat contain protein, vitamins and minerals crucial for the body to function. Red meat and poultry provide the majority of most people’s intake of zinc, iron, magnesium and protein with iron actually being easier to absorb from animal based products than plant based. While meat easily meets our daily diet needs for proper body function, when we eat processed meat in excess, it has heavy links to heart disease, cancers and morbidity.
While it may seem like you should cut out meat altogether to avoid any risks they may have regarding disease, it’s not always the best solution. Many people that go straight to a vegan or vegetarian diet aren’t able to source foods that replace the nutrients needed that they are no longer getting from meat and animal products. It’s important to consult a GP or nutritionist when radically altering your diet as a common occurrence is people becoming iron deficient as mentioned previously, iron is harder to absorb from plant based foods opposed to animal based food.
As well as being deficient in zinc, omega-3s and vitamin B12 because people just don’t know what foods to use as a substitute.
Instead of cutting out meat altogether, people are actively reducing their intake of meat to help reduce the risks associated with it. The term "flexitarian" is used to describe such a diet and is a movement becoming more prevalent in mainstream with places like Sumo Salad promoting the healthier eating behaviours of a meat reduced diet.
While we are constantly told to eat more fruit and especially more veggies, it’s good to know why particularly when substituting in for meat, so you know you’re adequately replacing your needed nutrients.
They can help you stay young
Vitamin K is found in most leafy greens with kale giving you six times your daily requirement in just one cup. Vitamin K helps blood to clot and is critical to preventing age related conditions
Help preserve eyesight
Leafy greens contain healthy amounts of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which increase how far you see decrease the risk of cataracts as well as discomfort caused by glare. Vitamin A, found in carrots also help
Fruits and veggies contain higher amounts of soluble fibre than meat which may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
When you are eating meat, the most important thing is to make sure it’s fresh and avoid anything processed. There are many myths regarding “meat” as there isn’t always a separation of processed vs organic meat.
All meat causes disease
Meat that has been organically farmed and raised on grain that hasn’t been genetically modified is completely different to processed meat. In 2010 date from 20 studies found no correlation between unprocessed red meat and heart disease. The additional chemicals and hormones that are found in processed meats are the causes behind disease.
Humans aren’t designed to eat meat
Our digestive system is actually setup somewhere between a carnivore’s and an herbivore’s indicating that human’s are actually supposed to be omnivores.
Eating meat will make you fat
This is again heavily related to processed vs organic meat. An organic lean steak won’t make you fat, but consuming processed meats will.
Reducing your processed meat intake all relates back to being aware of what you’re putting in your body and where it comes from. You may cut out meat all together but if you then replace it with junk food, you’re not doing yourself any favours. With any processed food there are various chemical compounds that are not naturally present in fresh food and many of these additives are harmful to your health.