There has always been a great debate between health experts and nutritionists about the benefits and risks associated with red meat in an endeavor to identify whether it is good or bad for the body's well-being. To this day, results have been mixed with the latest controversial research raising eyebrows by suggesting red meat might actually be good for you. To begin, we will start by examining what red meat is.
What Is Classified As Red Meat?
Red meat is meat derived from farm-raised animals such as cows, pigs, and sheep. Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal, venison, and goat all constitute red meat in addition to processed meats like sausages, bacon, ham, deli meats such as salami, pâtés, and canned meats such as corned beef. Processed meat is meat preserved by methods such as smoking, curing, salting, or adding preservatives.
What are the Health Benefits of Red Meat?
Popular among those on the paleo diet who usually attempt to find unprocessed foods where the animals are fed an organic diet, red meat is an abundant source of protein, saturated fat, iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
The body requires Iron to assist red blood cells with carrying oxygen. Although Iron can be acquired from dark green leafy plants, beans, and grains, however, it is best absorbed into the body in the form of red meat.
Subsequently, zinc is needed for DNA synthesis and maintains the immune system to help it work efficiently. As well as being ascertained from red meat, zinc is also present in fish, grains, eggs, and beans, but it is digested by the body best when it comes from meat and fish.
Out of the generous amount of B vitamins identified in red meat vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are the most important. Vitamin B6 is useful for the immune system functioning as well as supporting lymphocyte and interleukin-2 creation, and hemoglobin production. Vitamin B6 is also involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions, plays a part in cognitive development by way of the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, and in sustaining normal levels of homocysteine in the blood.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for keeping the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, aids DNA production as well as preventing a specific type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, which makes people feel tired and weak all of the time. With doctors forming opinions about the health benefits of red meat and asserting these benefits can also be obtained from other forms of meat, what exactly does the research say?
What Does The Research Say?
The research surrounding red meat tends to be divided, leaning in favour of or against the consumption of red meat. For example, one meta analysis of data regarding heart disease suggests researchers have over-emphasized the role of saturated fat which is abundant in red meats, plays in the progression of heart disease. Saturated fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the body heightening the risk of heart disease.
In contrast, many studies have associated red meat with poor health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and in some cases diabetes. However, the most controversial body of research suggests there's no factual evidence proving the consumption of red meat is harmful to the body.
Whether red meat is unhealthy or not is unclear at this point, but with more research studies being conducted to fully understand the benefits and risks of red meat. As with any food red meat should be consumed in moderation.