Meat has lately been getting the flak, especially with the rise in popularity of the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. While there’s a certain degree of merit in limiting meat consumption, many nutritionists agree that completely skipping meat isn’t as advisable as it may seem. Meat from safe sources, especially those from certified meat growers, should ideally be included in your diet albeit in moderation.
Why Eating Meat Is Good for You
Did you know that meat is the best source of proteins, a macronutrient that the body obviously needs in larger quantities? Proteins, in turn, perform several crucial functions in the body including:
- Growth, repair and rejuvenation of muscles and tissues
- Production of antibodies necessary for boosting the immune system
- Generation of hormones crucial for many bodily processes
But it isn’t just proteins that are in meat either. Most types of meat contain several vitamins and minerals including but not limited to:
- Iron for the formation of hemoglobin, a red blood cell crucial in the transport of oxygen throughout the body
- Zinc for normal metabolism and tissue formation
- Selenium for breaking down chemicals and fats
- Vitamins A, B and D for healthier skin, stronger teeth and bones, and better central nervous system
From these nutrients, the body and brain benefit in numerous ways. These include better recovery from microscopic injuries sustained after intense exercise, improved functional ability, and increased immune strength, to name a few.
Such is the importance of meat among athletes that they have to consumer 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. This is especially true for athletes engaged in high-intensity training, such as bodybuilders and weightlifters.
The bottom line: Meat is an important part of a healthy diet! Even when there are vegetable-based protein sources, meat is still your best choice. So go ahead and enjoy your steaks at your nearest Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant.
How to Make Eating Meat Better for You
But this isn’t a license for cramming your mouth and stomach with as much meat as it can hold either. Keep in mind that moderation is always the key in getting the most from the good things in life and it applies to meat, too. Remember, too, that the average adult requires about 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight for optimal benefits.
Here are a few more things that you can remember when you’re eating meat.
- Limit, if not avoid, the saturated fats in meat because too much of it can increase cholesterol levels and clog the arteries. Your risks of stroke and heart attack increase when you don’t keep it in check.
- Choose grass-fed or pasture-raised beef; it usually says so on the label. It may contain between 25 and 50 percent less fat and calories, as well as more omega-3 essential fatty acids than its grain-fed counterpart.
- Select only the best cuts, if your budget allows it. If you live in the United States, the best choices are meat labeled USDA Select grade because these cuts have lower fat content than Prime and Choice grade.
- Choose lean cuts, whenever possible. Look for packages labeled “lean” (i.e., fewer than 8.5 grams of fat) and “extra lean” (i.e., fewer than 4 grams of fat).
- Trim the external fat on meat before cooking it. Your fat intake can be slashed by nearly half with this method.
- Use cooking utensils that can drain away the fat when cooking. Better yet, use a non-stick pan so that less cooking oil will be needed. You can also use paper towels to blot burgers and meatballs after cooking.
- Know your meat limits. The recommended limit is one serving of red meat a week or about 3 ounces. You may or may not follow the recommended amount based on your age, physical condition, and fitness goals. You may, for example, eat more meat because you’re engaged in a high intensity training program or go to the gym 4-5 times per day.
The above-mentioned tips can also be applied when you’re dining out at Logan’s Roadhouse, too. For example, you can ask the chef whether the beef is grain-fed or grass-fed and make your decision. You can also go for the leanest cuts of meat on the menu and trim out the fat on your steak.
But if you want to enjoy red meat without necessarily cutting out the great-tasting fat from the lean meat, then we suggest ordering bison or buffalo steak. Bison has slightly lower fat and calories content (i.e., for a 3-ounce serving, 2 grams fat and 122 calories) than a serving of skinless light meat chicken, as well as 24 grams of protein.
Bison also has a slightly richer and sweeter taste than beef. You will also not be exposed to antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals linked to cancer from bison, unlike with farm-raised cows.
In the end, your enjoyment of meat including pork, beef, lamb, and deer should be tempered with your concern about your health. Be sure to add more vegetables to your meals and to limit your use of the rich sauces.