I highly recommend including meat in any well-balanced diet for its essential role in building lean muscle tone, increasing your metabolism and for the repair and recovery after exercise. In today’s blog article, I explain what healthy meat consumption is, I hope you like it.
Eating more than Muscle Meats
It’s important to remember that throughout history humans consumed not only ‘muscle meats’ but they also consumed organ meat as well. Many cultures today still highly value organ meat like liver because its high in micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B and iron. As muscle meat is high in the amino acid methionine, and studies show consuming less methionine can increase life span and improve metabolic health (body fat accumulation, insulin sensitivity and blood lipids) its worthwhile balancing your meat source with some organ meat and bone broth.
Don’t Burn Your Steaks
There are dangers linked to cooking meat at very high temperatures. The most common high-heat cooking methods include grilling, broiling, frying and deep-frying. High-heat cooking methods can form unhealthy compounds that have shown to be cancer causing. They tend to form as some of the nutrients in meat react with some of its other components at very high temperatures. These unhealthy compounds have been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast and pancreatic cancer.
Tips to minimise harmful compounds in food:
- Use more gentle cooking techniques like stewing, baking, steaming and boiling.
- Limit your intake of charred and smoked foods. If your meat is burnt, cut away the charred pieces.
- When cooking at very high heat, flip the meat frequently.
Avoid Excessive Red Meat Intake
Red meat is generally very high in the mineral iron. Iron binds to haemoglobin in the blood and plays a vital role in delivering oxygen to all the tissues in your body. However, having very high iron levels in the body can cause long term health issues, especially in men.
Women have menstruation to help them remove excess blood and iron from the body. However, men, non-menstruating women and children don’t have an efficient mechanism to expel iron from the body. If iron consumption is very high, it can cause iron to build up in the blood, causing symptoms of iron toxicity. This is not a concern for most people, but some genetic disorders can result in elevated absorption of iron. For those who have this disorder, eating a lot of iron dense foods can cause problems, and red meat happens to be very rich in iron.
If you have this condition, there are a few things you can do to reduce your iron levels:
- Donate blood regularly.
- Drink coffee or tea with meals that contain a lot of iron, as they hinder the absorption of iron.
- Eat less red meat.
The only way to know if this pertains to you is to get your iron levels blood tested, or to get tested for the genetic mutation itself. I would still recommend eating a wider variety of meats including fish, poultry and seafood, not solely red meat.
Meat, especially if the animal it comes from was naturally fed, is an exceptionally healthy food. However, as with most things in nutrition, there are some potential concerns regarding a high meat intake. These include the over consumption of the amino acid methionine, the unhealthy compounds that form during cooking, as well high iron intake. Luckily, these concerns can easily be accounted for with some minor adjustments to your diet.
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