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Red Meat ~ Healthy or Harmful?
March 04, 2011
|Marilyn and I hope you're well and benefiting from adding Nature's Health Foods to your diet!
Today we thought we'd share with you our thoughts on whether red meat is healthy or not.
Are you confused about your choice of cut?
Well, you're not alone.
There's a lot of conflicting data out there.
Red-meat is a potent source of immune-boosting iron, zinc and filling protein.
But research has also linked it to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Should you include it in your diet and, if so, how much and what kind should you eat to reap the benefits?
Hamburger or Tenderloin?
Six ounces or eight?
Here's the straight dish on red meat.
Can Red Meat Raise Your Cholesterol?
While all red-meat contains some saturated fat, a substance that can boost LDL (bad) cholesterol over time, choosing lean cuts can help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
One way to tell you’ve selected smartly: Look for terms like “ultra-lean”, “round” or “sirloin.”
Flank steak, top round, and sirloin tips are also all figure-friendly picks.
Need to buy ground beef?
Look for products that sport the label “90 percent lean.”
You should also steer clear of meats with visible fat and marbling, as well as processed picks like salami and sausage, since they all contain hefty amounts of artery-clogging, saturated fat.
Can Some Cuts Cause Cancer?
Though some studies have connected red-meat consumption to an increased risk of several cancers (including breast, colon, and prostate) it’s currently unclear whether it’s the meat, or how it’s prepared.
That said, many studies have also more concretely connected charred meat to cancer, since burnt products contain carcinogenic compounds.
To sidestep risks, avoid eating burned meats and consider marinating your meat before cooking.
This simple step will not only inject your food with more flavor, the coating will also protect the meat’s surface from overcooking.
Can Red Meat Help You Lose Weight?
Trying to slim down?
Red-meat is an excellent source of satiating protein, which means it will keep you fuller longer.
The protein in red-meat is also naturally filled with essential amino acids to help your body build more calorie burning muscle.
A 5-ounce serving of lean beef provides about half your protein needs for a day!
But, remember, for optimal benefits, be sure to select a figure-friendly, low-fat cut like flank steak.
Is Red Meat Rich in Vitamins?
Contrary to popular belief, red-meat is actually a solid source of health-enhancing vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, zinc and vitamin-B12, thanks to monthly cycles, nutrients women are often deficient in.
Both iron and vitamin-B12 help keep blood healthy and prevent anemia, while zinc is essential for fertility and a healthy immune system.
Is Grass-Fed Beef Better for Your Health?
A cow's diet can actually affect not just the taste of its meat but the amount of fat in it. For instance, grass-fed beef tends to be lower in total fat, possess more intense flavor and offer a better balance of heart-healthy fats (like omega-3-fats) compared to conventional farm fed cows.
"Organic" beef doesn't necessarily mean the cows were grass fed, but guarantees they were fed organic food (typically grass, corn, or a combination of the two).
And unlike the more conventional cuts of red-meat, both grass-fed and organic, do not contain added growth hormones or antibiotics.
Organic and grass fed beef are also typically more expensive.
If you're concerned about the taste and fat content, and want hormone-free meat, it may be worth the expense.
If you prefer to go with conventional meat, just be sure to select the leanest cut to best protect your health.
Can Red Meat Take a Ticker Toll?
Fact: While heart disease is caused by a slew of genetic and lifestyle factors, red-meat can be bad for your heart if not chosen with fore-thought.
High-fat products, like marbled cuts and processed meats, have been shown to raise a person’s LDL (bad) cholesterol, which can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
To protect your heart, look for ultra-lean meats like flank steak and ground sirloin, and stick to moderate servings (4 to 6 oz.), no more than three times a week.
Mortality: Can Consumption Shorten Your Lifespan?
A recent study on people consuming red-meat at least once a day, daily, for up to 10 years did reveal an increase in mortality.
While a shortened lifespan is probably a premature assumption, the findings serve as an important “heads up” to monitor consumption.
So, strive to eat no more than 4 to 6 oz. servings of lean cuts, no more than three times a week.
Remember, many factors can affect a person’s lifespan.
So, while moderating red meat intake can help, other lifestyle factors like smoking and family history are much stronger predictors.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to red-meat consumption, the old “everything in moderation” message rings true, certainly when it comes to processed or marbled varieties, which are full of artery-clogging saturated fat.
If you want to get the most from your meat, with the least amount of risk to your heart, go with leaner cuts that can provide hearty flavor while offering hefty helpings of satiating, slimming protein, blood-building iron and immune-boosting zinc.
Watch your frequency: Strive to eat red meat only three or fewer times a week.
And keep your portion sizes in check, 4 to 6 oz. per meal is perfect.
Our advice: If you're trying to take care of your ticker, think of red-meat as a “side dish” to support a produce-filled plate, not the other way around.
Sadly, that's all the time we have for today.
We hope the above tips come in handy, and we hope you found some value in this Edition!
Until next time, we want you to,
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