8 Surprising Benefits of Meat

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Consumption of meat has many health benefits such as the elimination of skin diseases, strengthening of the immune system, long-term energy, building and repairing of body tissues and protection of the body from infections, It aids in the production of hemoglobin and is a rich source of protein and other essential amino acids.

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, skin problems have come up only much recently in evolutionary 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, B, and vitamin D, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and iron. All of these nutrients are required for various functions of the body and help in their own way.

Health Benefits of Meat

The health benefits of this delicious food are given in detail below.

Boosts Immunity

Different forms of meat have a high amount of zinc content, which helps to 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 the functioning of the reproductive system.

Different types of fresh raw meat (fish, pork, beef, chicken, and red meat) with uncooked proteins (legumes, nuts, rice, and eggs) on a wooden table

Eating meat reduces appetite and increases metabolism. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Promotes Muscle Growth

The protein in meat helps in building and repairing body tissues and improving 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.

Regulates Digestion

Along with proteins, meat also provides essential amino acids that help in digestion. Since our body cannot produce these by itself, they 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.

Improves 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 recognized 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.

Protects 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 attack, stroke, and arrhythmias. The types of B vitamins that meat provides are niacin, folic acid, thiamine, biotin, pantothenic 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 healthy skin and hair. The fatty acids protect the skin from UV rays and restore the moisture to the skin for a natural glow. Vitamin A found in it 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.

Improves Brain Power

The inclusion of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in various fishes, promotes cognitive and brain growth. It helps to improve concentration and general functioning of the brain.

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 Meat

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. Also, there have been findings that show allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis, caused by red meat.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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