Who doesn’t love to consume meat? Yes, meat is one of people’s favorite food. Red meat contain high protein and fat which make it flavorful. Fat in red meat has high palatability ( agreeable taste ) which make people loves to consume it. Red meat has been establish as important dietary source of protein and nutrients since long time ago. Its not only contain protein but also some vitamin and mineral such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 which is important to keep healthy body.
As we know that there are two categories of meat, red and white meat. Red meat is the meat of almost all mammals which has red color before cook and turn into dark after cooking process. While white meat is meat of most fish and chicken which has white color before cook and turn ito pale after it. This different color came from the presence and the larger number of myoglobin) the protein contained in muscle) compared to white meat.
Red meat consumption
Red meat is highly consumed by western people especially in United Kingdom, and Ireland.
Mean daily intakes of total, red and processed meat (g/d) by men and women as measured in several European countries.
Country Red meat ( Men and Women )
UK 108.1 72.3
Ireland 167.9 106.6
Greece 78.8 47.1
Spain 170.4 99.2
Germany 154.6 84.3
Italy 140.1 86.1
Denmark 141.1 88.3
Netherlands 155.6 92.7
Red meat: beef, veal, pork and lamb/mutton. Source: Linseisen et al. (2002).
Benefits of avoiding red meat
Consuming red meat has been associated with higher risk of developing certain disease. Some researches have been conduct to find the health risk that may be caused by red meat consumption. Below is the health benefits you get if you avoid or reduce your red meat intake :
1. Prevent from cardiovascular disease
Avoiding or reducing red meat in your diet may protect your cardiovascular system from certain disease that may be fatal. Red meat contain saturated fat or LDL ( Low Density Lipoprotein ) and and cholesterol which increase the risk of CVD disease.
2. Maintain normal blood pressure
The saturated fat and cholesterol contained in red meat can cause many health problem especially effect the blood vessel lining. Cholesterol will be accumulated in the blood vessel lining and thickening the wall. This may cause the blood passage become narrower than before and in result, the blood pressure will rise.
3. Reduce the risk of hypertension
Since red meat can promotes the blood vessel wall thickening and high blood pressure, reducing the intake of red meat can not only help maintain normal blood pressure but also reduce the risk of hypertension. Eating red meat is should be avoided by people who experience high blood pressure and it will be worse by adding seasoning such as salt.
4. Prevent from stroke
If you have normal blood vessel and blood pressure, the risk of having stroke and heart disease will be vanished. Blood vessel is responsible in maintaining the blood supply to brain. If their work disturb, the blood pressure will slightly rise and its dangerous because it can promote the blood vessel damage in brain that causing stroke.
5. Prevent from cancer
Some researches has found that red meat associated with high risk of cancer through epidemiological study. One substance which responsible in higher the risk of cancer is iron. Iron contain a protein substance called heme which can promote the formation N- Nitroso compound. This compound is known as carcinogenic and may caused colorectal cancer. The fat in red meat also linked to mutation of some hormones such as estrogen which can higher the risk of breast cancer. Some studies even reported that red meat promote lung, pancreatic and other type of cancer. Processed red meat by the addition of chemical substance such as preservatives and the cooking process such as grilling may double the risk.
4. Maintain healthy weight
Some people may consume red meat to fulfill the intake of protein and in order to build muscle. They forget that red meat also contain saturated fat which can be a culprit for your diet. High palatability of red meat usually tempt you to eat more. The red meat also contain high calories which will be harder to burn if you don’t take regular exercise and yes, it may also causing obesity.
6. Prevent from Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is common disorder on gut which can cause abdominal pain, bloting, distension and other symptoms. . Some foods include red meat can trigger irritable bowel syndrome. The fat contained in red meat inhibit the stomach emptying and promote the gastric acid production which can cause gastrointestinal problem.
7. Protect from colon lining damage
High iron which contained by red meat can damage the colon lining and bother colon work in absorbing the water and salt from waste material. This may cause diarrhea and even worse the colorectal cancer. Avoiding and reducing the intake amount of red meat can help you to maintain healthy digestion function.
8. Prevent from diabetes
Red mead can increase the risk of developing diabetes especially Type 2 by 50% if it consumed more than 110gr a day. the more you consume red meat the higher risk of developing diabetes you get. Cooked red meat can cause insulin resistance in controlling sugar level. Even the processed red meat can give you more risk because it directly damage your pancreatic cells that responsible in insulin production.
9. Prevent from Alzheimer
Saturated fat and cholesterol can be dangerous for brain health. Scientist also found that the accumulation of iron in brain can trigger the development of Alzheimer. As we know that red meat contains high amount of iron.
10. Reduce the risk of allergy
Even it is rare to meat the allergy case from red meat, the protein which is contained by red meat is possible to stimulate the body to producing allergen which may rise the allergy symptoms.
11. Prevent Toxicity
Red meat may contain harmful substance such as heavy metal and some hormones which are dangerous for human health. It is reported that during shipment of red meat from USA to Mexico, the copper amount in red meat is increased and can causing toxicity.
12. Maintain Kidney health
High protein diet such as Atkins diet which let people consume red meat is actually can be harmful for kidney. Too much consuming protein can stimulate your kidney to work harder and later can develop kidney disease.
13. Promotes longer lifespan
The worst news about eating red meat is it can cause mortality. Several studies has been conducted the mortality rates which associated with read meat consumption. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the main cause of mortality to people and if you consuming red meat, it means you shorten your life span. A study by An pan et al from German Institute of Nutrition found that after some research for more than 22 years, red meat consumption causing almost 23.926 cases of death ( including 5910 CVD deaths and 9464 cancer deaths) from 2.96 million pearson-years follow up.based on the study we may conclude that by reducing or even avoiding consuming red meat, you have can have longer life expectancy.
How much red meat you can eat ?
Red meat including beef, pork and lamb can be consumed in several amount. Department of Health suggests people to limit their red meat consumption 90gr a day. It is also recommended to eat not more than 18 ounces of red meat per week.
How to cut down red meat in your diet ?
- Instead of having red meat as steak or anything in your meal, it is better to replace it with other kind of protein such as fish, chicken or egg.
- Eating more vegetables and grain with small amount of meat is recommended. But must remember that the portion of vegetable and grains must be larger than the meat. Consider the meat as garnish or condiment not the main dish.
- Sometime we should copy how vegan eating their meal, they replace the meat in soup, schotel, stew, casserole and other kind of dish with beans, or mushroom which contain high protein and less fat.
- You can enjoy other type of protein to fulfill your daily protein intake. You can choose fish, poultry, eggs, low fat dairy products and even soy product.
- Avoid to grill the red meat if you still want to enjoy it, Cooking meat at high temperatures such as grilling can produces double cancer-promoters they are heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Those are the health benefits that you can get by avoiding red meat. Red meat can cause several health problem but it doesn’t mean you can enjoy steak, lamb chop or any other dish but limiting intake and eat it wisely can avoid you from the problem. Eating smart and clean will help you to maintain healthy body.