The Health Benefits of Eating Meat
The number of healthy eating tips and dieting ideas has risen and the focus on a healthy and nutritional diet has greatly increased over the past few decades. A Nielsen survey that polled over 30,000 individuals online suggests consumer mindset about healthy foods has shifted, and they are ready to pay more for products that claim to boost health and weight loss.
The U.S. population is becoming more and more concerned with eating healthy. While some are doing it to lose weight, others are concerned about living a long and healthy life.
With constant advancements in technology and knowledge, the ever-changing list of healthy and unhealthy food choices can feel impossible to keep up with. As dieting fads come and go, very little holds true. Professionals go back and forth on what type of milk you should drink, whether you should eat three meals a day or six meals a day, whether you should cut carbs completely or only eat whole grains, and whether meat is bad for your health.
We often deprive ourselves of our favorite foods in order to live a healthier life without really knowing the facts behind what we are doing. We are told that it is what we have to do and, without asking questions, we do it.
No longer! We are here to give you the lowdown on one of the biggest questions, should you eat meat? The answer is yes, and not just because it’s delicious, although it is. Here is the scoop on why meat is good for you.
Is Meat Healthy?
Often the healthiness question of meat comes down to how meat is prepared and how much meat is consumed. Meat contributes to a big portion of the nutritional value a person should consume in a day, along with other protein sources like fish, eggs, and beans. There is currently a large amount of stigma regarding the health benefits of meat — yet it is still recommended by the American Heart Association that you eat meat daily.
We often see friends and family cutting food completely out of their life. Common foods include gluten, dairy, sugars or meat. Whether you cut these foods out of your life for a weight-loss diet, allergies or personal beliefs, it is hard to completely eliminate a major food group from your life.
Meat is a staple on the dinner table for the majority of American families. Whether you eat breakfast sausage daily or pack a ham sandwich for you and your kids’ lunch every day, you’ve most likely grown up eating some type of meat only to continue the tradition of serving your children those same home-cooked, meaty meals.
Cutting something out of your life that you’ve never been without — and that tastes amazing — is an extremely hard thing to do. That is why it is important to know the facts behind your decision to eat meat or to eliminate meat from your daily meals.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A BALANCED DIET?
According to the American Heart Association, the suggested servings from each food group are:
- Grains: 6-8 servings per day. One serving consists of ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
- Vegetables: 3-5 servings per day. One serving consists of 1 cup of leafy vegetables or ½ cup of vegetable juice.
- Fruits: 4-5 servings per day. One serving consists of 1 medium fruit or ½ cup of fresh, canned or frozen fruit.
- Dairy: 2-3 servings per day. One serving consists of 1 cup of milk or 1½ oz. of cheese.
- Meats: 3-6 oz per day. One serving consists of 3 oz. cooked meat roughly the size of your palm.
- Fats and Oils: 2 servings a day. One serving consists of 1 tbsp. of mayonnaise or salad dressing.
- Nuts, Seeds and Legumes: 3-5 servings a week. One serving consists of ⅓ cup of nuts or 2 tbsp. of peanut butter.
- Sweets and Added Sugars: 0-5 servings per week. One serving consists of 1 tbsp. of sugar or 1 tbsp. of jelly.
Many people have a hard time hitting these numbers with the amount of added sugars and other ingredients that are artificially added to our prepackaged food. Being aware of suggested amounts and nutrition labels can help with small but significant choices throughout the day. And allow you to still eat your favorite foods, like meat, at the same time.
Try, instead of eliminating an entire food group, to eat in moderation. If you choose to stop eating chicken, sausage, beef and other meats that are commonly consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’re missing out on a lot of the health benefits that meat provides, and you will need to find those benefits elsewhere in your diet. Discussing the advantages and the risks of this common diet-changing practice will help you decide if this choice is right for you.
Should I Eat Meat?
Protein is essential whether you choose to eat meat or not. Protein makes up your hair, nails, organs and ligaments, as well as the muscles. Protein creates strong bones, cartilage, skin and blood. It contributes the majority of the non-water weight in our bodies, so it is a very important part of our nutritional diet. Although you can get protein from different food groups, one of the main providers of protein is meat. Eliminating meat from your diet without making the proper dietary adjustment removes a lot of good stuff, too.
THE 6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING MEAT
Eating meat provides essential nutrients and vitamins that aid in muscle and bone strength, brain health, and healthy weight management. Learn more about the specific benefits in the following sections.
MEAT PROVIDES NUTRIENTS
Meat is rich in iron, zinc, and selenium. Protein specifically from meat offers a large amount of zinc. Zinc creates antibodies that allow our body to fight disease and infections, protecting us from sickness. Vegetarians need to eat about twice as much iron as those who do consume meat products. The iron in meat products and protein helps to improve oxygen delivery to many parts of the body, like tissues, cells and organs. Selenium is another mineral known for giving your body an immunity boost as well as helping your body maintain a healthy metabolism.
MEAT CONTAINS IMPORTANT VITAMINS
Meat provides your body with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Meat has omega-3 fat DHA, too. These are nutrients only found in animal protein. Vitamin B12 assists in the creation of red blood cells. It is important to ensure you get at least 2.4 micrograms of B-12 each day. This can come from three ounces of beef or .5 micrograms from a serving size of chicken.
Calcium strengthens bones and, among many other things, helps in weight management. Vitamin D also aids in healthy bones as well as reducing risk of contracting the flu. If you find yourself battling concentration or cognition issues, adding protein to your diet is a good place to start. When you choose not to eat meat, these vitamins and nutrients will have to be supplemented elsewhere.
MEAT IMPROVES YOUR MUSCLE STRENGTH
Protein-rich diets aid in the absorption of nutrients to the muscles. Amino acids, a very important part of your overall body, especially for the muscles, are consumed through protein. This results in an increase in muscle strength and repair for a bigger, stronger and leaner body. Muscles are primarily made up of protein. If you have an active lifestyle or wish to grow your muscle mass, your body needs enough of that protein. Protein works by stimulating muscle protein synthesis and quelling protein breakdown to produce more lean tissue.
While you can get protein intake from options like protein shakes and bars, many people, even with those additions, still do not receive the full amount of protein needed in order to achieve the physique they would like. Meat is one of the few protein sources that provide complete protein. Others include eggs, fish, milk and soy. Eating meat to get the suggested amount of protein for muscle growth will ensure your time lifting and working out helps you in the right place.
MEAT AIDS IN BONE STRENGTH
Protein from eating meat helps with bone strength as well. The intake of protein creates a lower risk of osteoporosis. Research shows that bone density will increase with a higher protein intake. The amino acids previously discussed also come into play for strength building in the bones. The amino acids provided through protein strengthen the muscles, which also aids in bone strength. When paired with the hormone IGF-1 found in protein, which regulates bone metabolism, bones are given the nutrients to become stronger.
MEAT AIDS IN BRAIN FUNCTION
Another benefit of eating meat is an increased brain function. The neurons in our brain communicate through the proteins we eat. Again, the all-powerful amino acids, or the building blocks of protein, offer that chemical message to the brain. You are in control of how you feel with what you eat. The consumption of protein offers a boost in mood and energy levels, as well as helping the brain fight that foggy feeling.
Eating protein can also improve your ability to concentrate. In short, those feel-good chemicals in your brain, dopamine and serotonin, get the message to activate when you get the necessary amounts of protein in your diet.
Although eating protein is not going to completely eliminate stress and cause you to be happy constantly, when mixed with a healthy diet like eating less sugar and eating more of the things that decrease the effects of some neurotransmitters, you can better control how you feel throughout the day.
A healthy diet will also support the effects of protein intake. When comparing a high-protein diet to a high-carb diet, a high-protein diet will allow for a better night of sleep. The chemical process protein sparks in our brain lets us feel tired at night while feeling energized and awake during the day. Just another benefit of protein.
MEAT CONSUMPTION ENCOURAGES WEIGHT LOSS
Although some people eliminate meat from their diet in order to lose weight, protein offers a way to get full and stay full. A recent study confirmed the benefits of protein for weight management. It can prevent overeating, giving you a satisfied, full feeling as well as keeping your stomach full for longer periods of time. While fiber helps to fill you while you’re eating, protein will make you feel full longer.
You may eat fewer calories throughout the day if you feel full. Making small adjustments like a smaller serving of starchy foods like potatoes or rice with the addition of more protein will help you to lose some of that unwanted belly fat. Studies show increasing protein in a woman’s diet from 15% of calories to 30% led the women to eat more than 400 fewer calories throughout the day. The addition of more protein will provide those amino acids to build muscle and replace that fat.
HOW CAN MEAT FIT INTO MY DIET?
When selecting which meats to eat in order to consume the correct amount of healthy proteins, you should look for:
- Lean meats: Protein sources from cuts that contain lower amounts of fat, such as chicken, turkey and even certain cuts of pork and beef. Some of the leaner cuts of beef include chuck and sirloin while leaner cuts of pork include tenderloin and loin chops. Considering these lean meats while consuming protein will allow you to feel confident in your diet.
- Percentages: When purchasing meat, always look for the percentage of lean meat within that package. The higher the lean-to-fat percentage, the better. Sticking to meat packages that have a 90% lean meat-to-fat ratio will help in consumption of the benefits that protein offers.
- Moderation: Choose meats that have labels like “choice” or “select.” These tend to contain less fat. Don’t feel the need to eliminate fatty meats from your diet altogether. Enjoy everything in moderation. A less-fatty option like chicken should be a more common purchase whereas a fattier meat should be an indulgence.
HEALTHIER MEAT OPTIONS
You can find healthier options such as turkey bacon or chicken sausage. Premio chicken sausage contains 60% less fat than USDA data for pork and beef sausage. You can consume it more frequently while eliminating a good portion of the calories and fat in our other, equally delicious sausage.
Chicken and turkey are leaner meats, so you get all the protein benefits without the drawbacks of high fat. The addition of these healthier meats to your diet will let you enjoy the fattier foods without guilt.
Meat will provide you with the added benefits that protein supplies the human body. Making sure you are looking at labels and adding additional nutrients to your diet where it is needed will create not only the body you’ve always wanted but also a strong mind.
Meat should be a positive part of your diet and has the ability to fit into almost any lifestyle. Having the facts behind the benefits of meat consumption will allow you to make informed decisions about which sources of meat you decide to eat in your day-to-day life.
SO SHOULD YOU EAT MEAT?
Yes. You should definitely eat meat.
You should practice moderation with any food group. Completely eliminating a protein source from your diet could create unnecessary complications. Choosing a meat-friendly diet and allowing yourself the pleasures of a perfectly prepared sausage will incorporate the benefits that meat provides the body.
Zinc, Vitamin B12, brain function and muscle growth are all just additional checked boxes that all fall in line with sitting around the family dinner table to the mouth-watering taste of a perfectly grilled Italian sausage or a burger with all the fixings. Making a healthy life decision requires knowledge and the ability to let yourself say “yes” every once in a while. Say yes to meat.
FIND A STORE NEAR YOU
For tasty and delicious sausage, Premio Foods products are available for you to enjoy! Use our store locator tool to find Premio Foods products at stores near you.