Red meat is the meat of mammals (beef, lamb, sheep, etc.) that is red when uncooked or raw.
Human beings have been eating it since the Stone Age and evolution. They had healthier hearts and longer lives.
Red meat contains multiple health benefits and good nutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin B3, B6, B12, selenium, and many other nutrients and vitamins.
However, the consumption of red meat is also linked with heart disease, cancer, and early death.
How the same red meat that was a part of the daily food consumption of Stone Age people, has become a health danger for people today?
There are numerous factors involved in it. In the past, people ate grass-fed and organically raised animals’ meat.
Whereas today we consume farm-raised and processed meat. Nutritional values and facts enormously change for both of them.
Red meat from organically raised and grass-fed animals is still a healthy choice, if chosen, cooked, and consumed in a healthier way.
On the other hand, red meat from farm-fed animals and processed red meat have dangerous effects on human health.
Additionally, the amount we consume, the cut we choose, and the procedure of cooking and cooking ingredients contribute a lot to the health benefits or health threats of red meat.
Why is it dangerous for health?
High saturated fats
Red meat has highly saturated fats. The American Heart Association (AHA) also claims that red meat has more saturated fats as compared to other sources of proteins.
Though our body needs fats, yet overdoing them can lead us to a bad health state. Saturated fats can clog the blood arteries leading us to hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular diseases).
High level of cholesterol
Red meat also has a very high level of cholesterol. It can increase the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) in our bodies. That is again a core reason for CVD and high blood pressure.
When eaten in large quantities (both processed or unprocessed) on an almost regular basis, it can cause colorectal cancer says a study published in Harvard Health Publications.
Weight gain and obesity
Consuming meat on a daily basis can lead you towards obesity and weight gain says a study.
Meat protein digests after the digestion of fats and carbohydrates and acts as a surplus. The energy from meat protein is then stored as fat in the body increasing the overall weight.
The bacteria found in red meat can cause indigestion and an upset stomach when the meat is undercooked.
Moreover, some meat cuts are quite high in fats and fats take more time to get digested. Eating the meat cut with high fat can cause indigestion issues.
Red meat has high amount of iron. Eating food that has high amount of iron can cause constipation.
Plus, red meat is also low in fibers that are essential to regulate bowel movement. Consuming low-fiber food can also cause constipation.
When cooked at high temperatures, several chemical reactions may take place in red meat, which can cause severe health issues to our health.
On the other hand, undercooked and processed red meat such as sausages, deli, etc. is another health threat due to preservatives and chemicals used in them.
Eating red meat or processed meat on a regular basis can increase the risk of ESCC (esophageal squamous cell carcinoma) and EAC (esophageal adenocarcinoma). Both of them are associated with the risk of esophageal cancer.
Heme iron that is found in red meat can increase the risk of diabetes if a person consumes red meat every day, says an Asian study.
Other Health-related issues
Processed, undercooked, or uncooked, and daily consumption in larger portion size of red meat can cause extensive health-related issues.
Several studies show that the high consumption of red meat can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer mortality, and even death.
However, there are also some studies that suggest that the consumption of processed meat but not red meat can cause diabetes mellitus and heart-related health issues.
The bottom line
Even though red meat has several hazardous health threats, but if you can’t avoid eating red meat, you can make it less dangerous by choosing healthy cuts. Besides, cutting off the consumption of processed and undercooked food can help you attain a healthier life.
Here are a few tips to eat red meat in a healthier way:
- Take only one portion a day. One portion of red meat is about two to three-ounce.
- Choose lean cuts of red meat. Lean cuts have lion, round, and sirloin at the end.
- Trim off the extra visible fats as much as you can.
- Your chosen cut must not contain more than 15% fat.
- Pour off the extra fats after cooking.
- Eat lots of vegetables with red meat.
- Choose healthy cooking methods such as boil, bake, or roast.