Attention all you meat-lovers, do we have a treat of an article for you! We all love our meat, and if you’ve ever sampled the best steak in Malta at our Valletta eatery, we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a worthy love-affair!
Granted, over the years, red meat has received mixed reviews about its potential health risks, but we always believe in the adage of moderation being key. So, ignore all those naysayers and cheer up, carnivores: red meat isn’t as bad for you as many say, in fact we’ve decided to list 5 reasons why it’s something you should consume at least once a week…
1. We function best eating both plants and animals
During the course of evolution, humans and pre-humans have been eating meat. As omnivores, we function best at eating both plants and animals and our digestive systems are well-resourced to make full use of the fats, proteins and nutrients found in animal foods. What’s more, humans have much shorter digestive systems than herbivores and don’t have the specialized organs to digest cellulose, the main fibre in plants.
Humans also have canines, with big brains, opposing thumbs and the ability to make tools to hunt. What’s more, meat was one of the reasons humans were able to evolve such large, intricate brains. Some of the earliest evidence shows that our pre-human ancestors were eating meat as early as 1.5 million years ago.
2. Meat contains key nutrients
Red plays an important role in a balanced diet, and high quality, unprocessed meat is high in many nutrients such as vitamin D, which protects against rickets, a degenerative bone disease and zinc, essential for many maintenance jobs including strengthening the immune system and boasting a healthy brain. A 100g of raw ground beef contains vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, iron, zinc, selenium and various other vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin B12 is vital fodder for the protection of pretty much all the major structural and functional body systems, from things like neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, infertility and even cancer.
Furthermore, red meat is a rich source of other B vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. In fact it is for this very reason why many people who avoid animal foods are deficient in these B vitamins.
Unprocessed meat is also packed with healthy fats, but meat from grass-fed animals contains up to 5 times as much omega-3 as meat from grain-fed animals. But the nutrient composition of meat goes beyond all these nutrients mentioned. There’s also a plethora of lesser-known nutrients in meat that are absent in plants:
• Creatine – forms an energy bank in the muscles and brain.
• Carnosine – acts as an antioxidant and offers protection against many degenerative processes.
• DHA and EPA – which are the active forms of omega-3 in the human body and found primarily in animal foods. The body is inefficient at converting ALA (the plant form of omega-3) to the active forms.
• Selenium – a lesser known nutrient which is critical to the human antioxidant defence system.
3. Meat Contains High Quality Protein
Proteins are made up of long strings of amino acids that are linked together and folded into complex shapes. There are about 9 amino acids that our body cannot produce and must get from the diet. In this regard, animal proteins contain all the amino acids we need, while many plant proteins have a suboptimal amino acid profile. Unsurprisingly, consumption of animal protein is associated with increased muscle mass.
Another important that protein is important for is bone health. Studies show that consumption of protein is associated with increased bone density in old age and a lower risk of fractures. If you want to gain muscle, as well as prevent osteoporosis and fractures in old age, then the protein in meat can be beneficial.
4. …and Iron
When consumed via red meat, this nutrient is highly ‘bioavailable’ which means that it’s easier for the body to break them down than if they were delivered via other food sources. A sufficient intake of iron which is found substantially in red meat can plays a beneficial role in reducing the risk of iron deficiency anaemia.
Believe it or not, some estimates suggest two thirds of the human population are deficient in iron. Conversely, beef has the highest concentrations of iron. Red meat contains heme-iron, which is absorbed and put to work much more efficiently than the non-heme iron found in green vegetables.
5. And let’s not forget that healthy fat
Red meat’s fatty profile also packs a healthy punch, boasting equal amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat – the latter of which is the same heart-friendly fat that’s found in olive oil and the cornerstone of the much-idolised Mediterranean diet.
To confirm this theory, a 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also revealed how eating lean beef can actually improve cholesterol levels and reduced the risk of heart disease.
Oh steak you decadent and sanguineous gift of blubber from the carnivore gods, where would we be without you? Like the devoted meat-lovers we are, we refuse to lower our forks and step away from our steak knives. Instead, we decided to appreciate this meat-addled dedication to juicy, bouncy, luscious rump through this article.
We kind of knew you didn’t need any excuse to eat a chunk of steak, but we thought it’s always good to know the benefits of eating meat. Is your mouth watering as much as ours is, after reading this blog? Then we suggest for you to book your next table at Sciacca Grill Valletta.