Health Effects of Meat

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Watch out for the saturated fats in animal proteins. Go for lean cuts of meat, and don't beef up your portions!

Meats like beef and pork are high in protein, but they can also contain a lot of saturated fat, so I recommend always choosing the leanest cuts of these meats. Protein can help you maintain a healthy weight, increase your lean muscle mass, and keep you feeling satisfied longer. In addition to being good sources of protein, meats like beef, pork, and ham contain other important nutrients, including iron, zinc, and the B vitamins — B6, B12, and niacin.

Eating lean cuts of these protein-rich meats in place of their high-fat counterparts can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and help keep your blood sugars balanced, which may lower your risk of diabetes. Vitamins B6 and B12 may help improve memory. Vitamin B6 is also involved in creating dopamine, a mood neurotransmitter that may reduce PMS symptoms. Both niacin and zinc help protect against vision problems: Niacin guards against cataracts, while zinc helps prevent and treat macular degeneration. Zinc, vitamin B12, and iron promote healthy hair. Iron also contributes to nail strength. Note that if you have gout, red meat can increase the uric acid in your body and exacerbate the condition, so even lean cuts should be eaten in moderation. The riboflavin in lean beef may help guard against migraines, but aged beef and any cured, smoked, or canned beef or pork product can be a migraine trigger in individuals who are sensitive.


Beef Broth | Beef, Lean | Ground Beef, Lean | Ham, Lean | Pork Tenderloin

 

Beef Broth
Beef broth is primarily used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Commercial broths can be very high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so look for low-sodium varieties, which are readily available.

 

Beef, Lean
Fresh lean beef is a good source of protein and iron — which helps boost energy and build strong bones. It's also rich in riboflavin, a B vitamin that many neurologists believe helps combat migraines. For those who want to enjoy red meat but have heart disease or arthritis, lean beef that is low in saturated fat is clearly the beef of choice. Note that if you have gout, red meat can increase the uric acid in your body and exacerbate the condition, so even lean cuts should be eaten in moderation.

 

Ground Beef, Lean
Lean ground beef (at least 90 percent lean) is a healthier way to enjoy red meat. Lean beef is lower in saturated fat than ground chuck or high-fat marbled steaks, making it a smarter beef choice for all individuals, but especially people with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and arthritis. Lean beef is also a good source of protein, which is a key part of any weight-loss plan (that’s because protein helps to fill you up when included as part of meals and snacks). Beef is a good source of iron, zinc, and riboflavin, vitamins and minerals that maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin and may help to combat migraines. Note that if you have gout, red meat can increase the uric acid in your body and exacerbate the condition, so even lean cuts should be eaten in moderation.

 

Ham, Lean
Lean ham is a healthier way to enjoy red meat. It’s a good source of protein, which is a key part of any weight-loss plan because protein helps to fill you up when included as part of meals and snacks. That said, ham roasts and deli meats are often very high in sodium, which can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and even trigger migraines in sensitive individuals. Look for low-sodium ham, which is readily available at supermarkets and deli counters, and enjoy it in moderation.

 

Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a leaner, healthier way to enjoy red meat. Pork tenderloin is low in saturated fat, making it the healthiest cut of pork for all individuals but especially people with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. Pork tenderloin is also a good source of protein, which is a key part of any weight-loss plan (that’s because protein helps to fill you up when included as part of meals and snacks). It is also rich in niacin, vitamin B6, and zinc — nutrients that help maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin and may improve PMS symptoms.