Is Meat Good For You: Benefits & Side Effects

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Consumption of meat has many health benefits such as improving skin health, boosting the immune system, providing energy, and improving iron-absorption in the body. It aids in the production of hemoglobin and is a rich source of protein and other essential amino acids.

What is Meat?

Meat comes from the flesh of animals that people consume as food. It refers to the muscles and organs of various animals, such as goat, pig, chicken, buffalo, ducks, and more that are prepared to be eaten by humans. Poultry, pork, beef, lamb, seafood are some of the types of meat with both benefits and taste. Let us take a detailed look at the different types of meat below.

Types of Meat

Meat Nutrition

As per USDA’s Food Data Central report, meat is a good source of water and energy, thereby helping you stay hydrated and moving. It is also a very rich source of protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, and zinc. Mean contains various vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, A, E, D and various fatty acids.

Benefits of Eating Meat

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

Protein Rich

Meat is a rich source of protein as per USDA data, thereby making it a common component of our diets. 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.

Boosts Immunity

Meat has 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, as per a study published in the Molecular Medicine journal. 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 whereas vitamin A in meat 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

As per a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, meat helps in building muscle strength. The protein in meat helps in building and repairing body tissues and improving muscle activity, which is the reason why individuals who are building muscle strength increase their protein intake significantly. Protein and zinc in meat also aid in muscle growth and repair. Without providing your body with the right nutrients, no amount of effort to build a muscular figure will help and meat is by far the best source for those nutrients according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.

Protects Heart Health

The good fatty acids known as omega-3 in seafood keep the heart healthy and reduce the worry of cardiovascular malfunctions. 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.

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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