Meat: Benefits, Nutritional Value & Types
Consumption of meat has many health benefits such as the elimination of skin diseases, strengthening the immune system, providing long-term energy, building and repairing body tissues and protecting the body from infections, production of hemoglobin, a rich source of protein and other essential amino acids, and more.
Poultry, pork, beef, lamb, seafood are some of the types of meat that are as essential as they are tasty. The common denominator in all these is the protein that humans need. Protein converts to energy in our body and helps manage daily functionality. The recommended daily intake of protein is 46 grams for teenage girls and women, 56 grams for men, whereas kids need about 19-34 grams and teenage boys need 52 grams.
There are certain benefits that are exclusive to the consumption of meat and it cannot be substituted with vegetarian diets. Many lifestyle diseases such as cholesterol, diabetes, skin problems have come up only much recently in the evolution history. Studies have shown that people not consuming meat are more likely to suffer from neurotransmitter problems such as depression, anxiety, somatoform diseases and eating disorders.
Nutritional Value of Meat
While seafood provides omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin D; poultry and red meat provide protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin D, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron. All of these nutrients are required for various functions of the body and help in their own way.
Health Benefits of Meat
Boost Immune System: Different forms of meat have a high amount of zinc content, which helps boost immunity. Due to its antioxidant properties, zinc is responsible for creating antibodies to fight free radicals that put us at a higher risk for chronic diseases. Protein, also sourced from meat, helps in the production of these antibodies to protect the body from infections. The omega-3 fatty acids from seafood are good for boosting immunity as well. Another mineral found in seafood is selenium, which is also known for enhancing the immune system. Vitamin A enhances functioning of the reproductive system.
Promote Muscle Growth: The protein in meat helps in building and repairing body tissues as well as improves muscle activity. Tissues and muscles are made of protein which is why the individuals who are building muscle strength increase their protein intake significantly. Protein and zinc in meat aid in muscle growth and repair. Without providing your body with the right nutrients, no amount of efforts to build a muscular figure will help and meat is by far the best source of those nutrients.
Improve Digestive Health: Along with proteins, meat also provides essential amino acids that help in digestion. Since our body cannot produce these by itself, it must be acquired from food. There are nine essential amino acids namely histidine, leucine, lycine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine and meat provides all nine and therefore is called a complete protein. Vitamin D also aids in strong bones and is vital for calcium absorption and metabolism.
Improve Blood Circulation: Iron is one of the key minerals that aids in ensuring proper blood circulation and transport of oxygen to all cells. And different types of meat are a good source of iron Iron deficiency can lead to serious health concerns and is initially recognised by weakness, lack of concentration and fatigue. Pairing high iron meat with vitamin C rich foods like oranges is beneficial for the absorption of iron.
Heart Health: The good fatty acids known as omega-3 in seafood keep the heart healthy and reduce the worry of cardiovascular malfunctions. A regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids will cut out the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and arrhythmias. The types of B vitamins that meat provides are niacin, folic acid, thiamine, biotin, panthothenic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 and they help in the formation of hormones, red blood cells, and nervous system functioning. These vitamins also help produce energy in the body and keep the heart and nervous system healthy.
Better Skin, Hair & Eyes: Consumption of meat rich in omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial for a healthy skin and hair. The fatty acids protect the skin from UV rays and restore the moisture in the skin and the natural glow. Vitamin A found in meat ensures strong bones, teeth, healthy skin, and eyes. Intake of meat is also linked to improving the condition of a lot of skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis.
Brain Power: Inclusion of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in various fishes, promotes cognitive and brain growth. It helps improve concentration and general functioning of the brain.
Helps Fetal Development: Pregnant women usually avoid consumption of fish due to the mercury content which can affect the unborn child’s growth and development. However, the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish help in the brain and eye development in babies. It is also known to curb depression which is common during and after pregnancy.
Types of Meats
Seafood: Crab, lobster, sardines, shrimp, salmon, tuna, anchovies, barramundi, oysters, tilapia, lipped mussel, Antarctic krill
Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, quail
Red Meat: Pork, lamb, bison, beef, goat
Word of Caution: While frozen and canned variants may be convenient, nothing beats fresh meat. Purchasing meat from a clean and safe store or seller to ensure it is not contaminated is critical for one’s health. Seawater fish are generally high in salt content and may need to be avoided by some. Keeping the mercury content in fish in mind is important as high amounts can be detrimental to your health, but there are certain fish that have little or no percentage of mercury.