Consuming Red Meat
Too much of anything is bad
It seems like we hear about some type of new virus or disease that can and will kill us if we consume certain things or come into contact with it on a regular basis. If you watch the television commercials, they will advertise some type of medication that is supposed to cure an affliction/health condition, and then afterwards it will list 26 different negative side affects that are associated with taking the medication. It seems like your damned if you do, damned if you don't. The bottom line is too much of anything is bad for you, no matter what it is. We could all live healthier and just turn in to vegetarians/vegans, consume approximately 1800 calories a day, and maintain a body weight of 140 pounds in an attempt to live healthier, longer, but that wouldn't be very American. Everybody pretty much knows what is healthy for them and what is not. We all make our own choices. Some of us already have health issues but still choose to have bad habits. It's almost as if anything that's delicious, is bad for you. I personally wouldn't be able to go through the rest of my life without red meat. Although I am very aware of the dangers associated with red meat consumption, I love it and will take my chances with it, just like everything else in life is a risk. This article explores the pros and cons of eating red meat/mammal and what it means to all the fitness fanatics/body builders/gym rats or health nuts trying to build lean muscle.
Select cuts of various red meats
- Source of Creatine
- Increases testosterone levels
- Reduce bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Vitamin B12
- Source of zinc
- Source of Iron
- Source of Selenium
Benefits of red meat
Red meat is kind of in the same boat as say, a Black cat. A Black cat is perceived as bad or having bad luck. I'm unaware of how the poor cat got linked to bringing or being bad luck, but no matter how nice a black cat is, some people just avoid them like the plague. Some studies that have shown that some diseases/conditions may be directly related to red meat consumption have given it the same bad reputation as the cat. So lets review the good things that eating meat can do for you and your health. As I mention previously, it's the most common source of protein and is considered one of the best sources of protein because it contains all the essential amino acids and is imperative for the performance of metabolic functions. Protein is absolutely necessary for the development of body tissues, muscle growth, production of the anti-bodies that strengthen our immune system and protect us from infection. Besides assisting in keeping us healthy and growing, meat is an excellent source of Zinc. Zinc aids in the formation of tissue and metabolism, helps prevent testosterones conversion into estrogen (this is especially beneficial to men), and will support the body's fight against colds/flu while helping you get a good nights sleep. An abundance of iron is also found in meat, which supports the movement of oxygen throughout the body. The selenium that is found in it breaks down chemicals and fats in the body. The vitamin B12 gives you the energy required for your intense work out or just make it through the day. Creatine is also found in meat, although it's not nearly enough needed on a daily basis, you would have to consume about 15 steaks to get an adequate amount of creatine, so its best to take that in a supplement form. Lean beef has been linked to the lowering of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases testosterone levels, which will help an improving your stamina and sex drive. For all the guys out there, your wife/girlfriend/significant other will definitely appreciate you eating a little more lean beef. Other essential nutrients (vitamins) found in beef are vitamin A, B, and D which encourages strong bones, healthy eyes and teeth, mental health and assists in sustaining the central nervous system.
Keeping your heart healthy
Dangers of red meat
Now that we have established the benefits that are reaped by eating lean beef, lets take a look at the dark side of it. One of the most alarming dangers that has been directly related to consuming an excessive amount of red meat is the development of several different forms/types of cancer. The increased risk of developing Breast, Liver, Pancreatic, Lung, Colon, and Liver cancer have all been associated with the excessive consumption of red meat. The advancement of Diabetes has also linked to eating too much livestock. These alleged elevated cancer risks are not applicable to all red meats, but are deemed pertinent in processed meats (Ham, sausage, hot dogs, bologna, bacon) and factory farmed meats. Several conditions/afflictions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and of course the infamous cancers are known to flourish when surrounded by an ample supply of acid, which is one of the links due to the high acidic content found in livestock meat. Other research that has connected cancer to livestock is that Haem (pigment found in hemoglobin) creates chemical compounds that impairs the DNA cells of the digestive system. Diminished DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is thought to be the preceding step to cancer. Other health related concerns to the consumption of livestock is the high concentration of cholesterol and saturated fat content that can be detrimental to your heart (assists in the development of heart disease). The human body does not have the ability to store protein, so eating an unreasonable amount of meat can create havoc on your kidneys causing kidney damage or even renal failure. Unnecessary levels of protein in your system can also remove too much calcium from the body, which is a mitigating factor in osteoporosis. Constipation is also an effect of too much meat/protein consumption.
Moderation is the Key
Everything in Moderation
If your one of those people (such as myself) that likes to live a little dangerously, there are some things you can do to make consuming meats a little more healthier. Some processed meats contain nitrates (preservatives that become carcinogenic in high temperatures). Microwaving the meat or letting it marinate in vinegar will lower the amount of carcinogens in the meat. If you like to cook on the grill, the use of propane instead of charcoal is advantageous and reduces carcinogens as well. Use organic ground meat in place of package hamburger meat. If you have to eat red meat, do it in moderation. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends that an adult should consume 6 ounces of meat per day. If you're eating a lot more than that, you may want to replace some of it with non-meat sources of protein such as beans, nuts, eggs or seafood (fish). The objective is to live a long and healthy life, there will always be risk, but you can alleviate them a little bit.
More links with helpful dietary information
- A Medicine Cabinet in your Kitchen: 10 Herbs and Spices to cook with for Health
Cooking with these natural herbs and spices can not only infuse a great tasting meal, they can also assist in keeping you healthy.
- Low Carbs: Is it good for your body?
With proteins being the building blocks which augment muscle building and recovery of the body. This article will explore the importance of managing your carbohydrate intake.
- 12 of the Best Sources of Protein
This article will explore which foods and supplements have the best protein type and the best ratio of protein.
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 08, 2014:
In moderation is so important. I do like lean, red meat at least 3x a month...the leaner, the better. Chicken I could eat daily...pork, not so much, actually not at all. I went off the subject. Normal for me. Great hub!
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 08, 2014:
I used to love red meat but about 20 years ago decided that I'd go "cold turkey" and banish it from my diet due to health concerns involving fat, cholesterol, and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD). Reading academic papers on the subject convinced me to do it, and I haven't missed it. I wish I could be vegetarian but I knew I needed to start somewhere. Red meat was where I started. I like that you provided a balance here of benefits and dangers and that you stress moderation.
Adrienne Farricelli on March 06, 2014:
An interesting article. I love red meat, but am able to to eat it only once a week, which I think is a good thing given the negative health effects. Voted up and useful!
nuffsaidstan on March 02, 2014:
I only eat red meats in moderation, for some reason my body does not seem to process the stuff to well. Very interesting hub well done.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on February 26, 2014:
@Moonlake, wow you had 2 heart attacks at a young age, glad you recovered and are well. I fall in the category with your husband, I love red meat, I've cut back on it a little myself.
@Maira818 - I can't eat my meat bloody either, thanks for the read
Maira818 from Los Angeles, Ca on February 24, 2014:
I rarely eat beef meat, and when I do, I like it well done. I don't know why people would want theirs rare when sometimes it's still bloody. Great hub thanks for sharing!
moonlake from America on February 21, 2014:
When I had two heart attacks at age 38 one of the first things the doctor told me was not to eat red meat. I was all for that I don't really like red meat a hamburger here and there but that's about it. My husband and son love red meat but I usually make chicken for myself. Moderation is always good when it comes to red meat. Voted up.
Leah Kennedy-Jangraw from Massachusetts on January 14, 2014:
Thanks for sharing all the upsides and downsides of red meat. I think it's always important to weigh both the positive and negatives of our food sources, as most have both and often only one negative or one positive is highlighted. My main food philosophy is everything in moderation, because while too much of one food isn't good for our bodies totally denying ourselves of particular foods isn't necessary either.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on January 09, 2014:
Thank you for the read Dragonflycolor, jpcmc, & MsDora, Hope your holidays went well.
@teaches12345 - I'm with you on that, I love bacon and pork chops, I try not to eat it too much, but there is no way I could go without it.
Dianna Mendez on January 09, 2014:
We try to keep our red meat consumption to a couple times a month due to the information you write here on the post. Excellent advice, I only hope I can avoid eating bacon less!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 05, 2014:
One of my tasks this year is to eat healthier. i just hope I can do it. reading this hub gives me more motivation to live healthier. Thanks my friend. Good information is the key.
dragonflycolor on December 27, 2013:
I agree that consuming anything not in moderation is harmful to your body. It can also have negative affects on your psyche, altering moods, and affecting your emotional stability. Good hub.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 27, 2013:
Alphadogg, thank you for all the brilliant articles on healthy living you have penned throughout the passing year. This one on the benefits and disadvantages of red meat is also very helpful. Thanks again, and blessings throughout the New Year!