One emerging lifestyle trend seen throughout the industrialized world in recent decades is an increased preference for meatless diets. According to the most accurate statistics, at least 8% of Canadians are vegetarian. A major driver of this trend is the perception that foods like red meat and fish will negatively impact health. While consuming too much meat can potentially lead to complications like heart disease and hypertension, the idea that meat is inherently unhealthy is patently FALSE. Here are a few health benefits of eating meat that you may not know about.
Easier Weight Control
Believe it or not, the regular consumption of moderate amounts of meat can help the average person to lose weight and keep the pounds off. It’s been conclusively proven that a diet high in carbohydrates and refined sugar is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Eating lean red meat and fish on a regular basis actually stimulates the metabolism while reducing cravings for grains and sweets. What’s more, regularly eating meats like beef that contain high amounts of conjugated linoleic acids can significantly reduce serum lipid levels.
Increased Muscle and Strength
It’s an established fact that a diet high in protein is essential if you want to build muscle mass. The reality is that it’s easier to get the right mix of proteins and amino acids necessary for muscle development from meat than from vegetable sources. If you’re not looking to build bulk, eating a moderate amount of healthy meats will also help you to develop lean muscle. For runners and other distance athletes in particular, a daily serving of meat will improve performance and reduce injuries.
A Stronger Immune System
One of the biggest pitfalls of both the vegetarian and vegan diets is the very real danger of a weakened immune system. In order for your body to create the anti-bodies it needs to stave off illness, it requires a rich mix of amino acids. Eating a few different types of meat several times a week will provide your immune system with the zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids it needs to fire on all cylinders. Ultimately, meat consumption can prevent illness and reduce recuperation times when you do get sick.
At the end of the day, humans are omnivores that function best when consuming a mixed diet consisting of meat, fruit and fresh vegetables. A daily serving or two of meat or poultry will ensure that your body has the amino acids necessary to generate digestive enzymes. Robust digestive enzyme action allows a person to more efficiently absorb various nutrients from all kinds of food. As long as you don’t go overboard, eating meat regularly can also alleviate constipation caused by consuming too many foods rich in carbohydrates.
People that avoid eating meat and rely instead on a purely vegetarian diet have a harder time managing energy levels throughout the day. For instance, a carbohydrate-rich lunch will often result in a mid-afternoon energy “crash” that can be a real productivity killer. A few strips of bacon in the morning or a sensible roast beef sandwich at noon can help to regulate your energy levels throughout the day. An added benefit of moderate meat consumption is a more restful night’s sleep.
Healthier Skin and Bones
Most people are aware that healthy, blemish-free skin depends on a steady supply of complex proteins. What few seem to realize is that moderate meat consumption is often the best way to supply those proteins. Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to encounter skin problems like eczema and dermatitis. Most meats contain high levels of vitamin D, a substance that Canadians in particular have a hard time getting enough of due to the climate. What’s more, vitamin D is a crucial weapon in the fight against osteoporosis.
If you value your eyesight, you might want to think twice about cutting meat out of your daily schedule. That’s because most meats contain plenty of zinc, iron and vitamin A, all of which promote improved eyesight when consumed in moderation. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid and eicoapentaenoic acid that are found in many meats are known to arrest the development of conditions like macular degeneration. While meat consumption won’t magically improve your eyesight overnight, it can certainly prevent your vision from becoming worse over the years.
Improved Mental Health
If you’re prone to depression, throwing a little corned beef or salmon into the regular rotation could be the solution to your problems. That’s because consistent meat consumption can significantly smooth out neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain that cause mood swings. If you don’t give your brain the amino acids it needs to produce vital neurotransmitters, you’re far more likely to experience psychological issues. People that switch from a vegan or vegetarian diet to a more balanced food regimen frequently report an improved outlook on life.
Better Cognitive Functioning
Study after study has proven that people who regularly eat meat and fish perform better on standardized tests than those who abstain. After all, there’s a reason why tuna is frequently called “brain food.” Practically every meat you can buy at any of our three M.R. Meat Market locations is packed with tons of vitamin D and vitamin B12, both of which can significantly boost your brain power. What’s more, the carnosine found in meats like beef can delay the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Sourcing the Best Meats for a Healthier Life
If you want to get the most out of meat consumption, you’ll need to spend a little extra time tracking down the best product possible. You’ll almost always find better cuts at lower prices at a dedicated meat purveyor like MR Meat Market than you will at any generic grocery store. Use the MR Meat Market app available on Google Play and iTunes to keep track of the latest specials on the best meats and fish you’ll find anywhere.