While red meat is typically looked at as a dangerous food, this is of course only true if eaten too regularly and with a sedentary lifestyle. Too much red meat—especially if it is low quality processed meat or meat that’s high in saturated fat—can raise cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease, but red meat consumption as a staple of your diet is not in-itself a bad thing.
Here are the top 5 benefits of red meat and why it’s perfectly compatible with a healthy diet.
1) Red Meat is Nutrient Dense
Red meat happens to be an excellent source of many nutrients including high levels of zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B12. Many of these are things which vegetarians struggle with getting enough.
Zinc is important for muscle growth as well as keeping testosterone levels normal. Vitamin B12 assists in the production of red blood cells and helps with giving you energy. Magnesium assists with nerve function and helping muscles absorb glucose from the blood stream to use that energy up into movement. Iron is essential for producing haemoglobin—the part inside your blood cells that carries oxygen through your veins.
The evidence behind red meat’s health benefits continues to grow everyday, so give it a chance. Yes, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, but eating red meat in moderation gives you the essential nutrients your body needs to function.
2) Red Meat is High in Protein
Protein is the building block of the body—it makes up muscles that allow us to move and enzymes that catalyse all biochemical reactions within cells. Proteins are made up of chains of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids and nine (essential) cannot be produced by our bodies and need to come from other sources like red meat, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds.
Red meat is a good source of complete protein. Complete proteins contain every essential amino acid that you need from your diet.
If you’re lifting and want to see faster results, eat red meat! Not only do you get the protein you need to build up your muscles, but the zinc will help your body produce more testosterone which in turn will help further build your muscles.
Red meat is also an excellent source of iron, particularly heme iron which is absorbed by the body better than non-heme iron found in egg yolks and plant foods. Iron deficiency causes fatigue and decreased immunity so be sure to get enough if you’re working out a lot!
3) Red Meat is a Great Addition to Meals (Even in Small Amounts)
Just because a meal involves red meat doesn’t mean it has to center around it. Instead of flipping all your steaks, try to mix it up with other healthy protein and white meat sources like fish or chicken breast. This way you can still enjoy the tasty flavor of red meat but also get a well-balanced meal.
For example, if you’re making pasta put that lean beef into it too! Next time you make spaghetti sauce see how much healthier it is when you fry up some ground beef to go alongside it! Red meat doesn’t have take center stage.
4) Red Meat Often Contains Healthy Fat
That’s right. Many studies on beef and lamb have found that it often contains a significant amount of healthy fat. Don’t be afraid, your body needs fat to operate as well as carbohydrates and protein.
In fact, the fats found in red meat are typically unsaturated fats which can help protect you from cardiovascular issues. They’re also typically omega-3 fatty acids which have been known for their anti-inflammatory benefits!
All of this said, not all meats were created equal! So what makes a good cut of red meat?
Lean beef is generally considered a healthier form of red meat but if you want something that’s more along the lines of prime rib you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t have too much fat on it by either asking your butcher how much they think works or checking the nutrition facts.
One thing to note as well is that grass-fed beef typically has more omega-3 fatty acids than grain fed! Not to mention it typically has a better ratio of omega-6:omega-3 which should help reduce any inflammation issues you may have!
Also, there are plenty of restaurants that serve high quality beef. Some of the best restaurants in Idaho Falls and beyond provide burgers and steaks high in good quality fats and nutrients.
In short, red meat a source of essential nutritionist, but choose your sources wisely.
5) It’s Tastes Great!
Everyone loves a fat, juicy piece of red meat. What could be better than a perfectly cooked steak or burger?
Anytime you cook your beef (or any meat for that matter), try to keep as much of the fat as possible. This helps elevate it from “tastes good” status to amazing deliciousness!