Health Facts About Meat
- Animal meats, like beef, contain high-quality complete protein, which means they supply all the amino acids your body needs to build the protein it uses for essential body functions such as growth and development.
- The iron in red meat, especially beef, is twice as beneficial as the iron found in other food sources – and about half of it is heme iron, which helps reduce the risk of anemia. Eating meat also enhances your absorption of non-hemetic iron from plant foods, so be sure to accompany your Sunday roast with all of the vegetable trimmings. Your mom would be proud!
- Four ounces of lean beef provides half of the daily requirement of vitamin B12, which is essential for a healthy nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6, also supplied by beef, helps convert the potentially harmful chemical homocysteine, which is linked to the risk of heart disease, into other benign molecules.
- Zinc and selenium are trace minerals that are considered vital to a healthy diet, and both can be found in lean beef. Foods rich in selenium are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer and can help alleviate inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis, while zinc is needed for the proper function of the immune system – this makes it useful in preventing infections.
- Fat is an issue often raised by the anti-meat brigade, but the leanest cuts of beef, pork and lamb now contain less than 10% fat, compared with 25% back in the 1970s. Meat also provides a large dose of monosaturated fat, which is a common component of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
- Vitamin B1 is essential to the growth and repair of nerve and muscle tissues, and it also helps maintain appetite. One of the best sources of Vitamin B1 is pork. Pork also rivals milk as one of the best sources of riboflavin, which keeps your skin and eyes healthy.
- You can’t build muscle without protein and meat is arguably the best way to get it. The World Health Organization states that protein digestibility is reduced by about 10% in a vegetable-based diet, because of its high-fiber content. So, if you are eager to bulk up on your biceps, you should visit your butcher today.
MYTH ABOUT ROASTING TIME
THE MYTH: You should time the cooking of roasts by figuring “x” number of minutes per pound.
THE FACTS: Shape is a more important factor than weight. To demonstrate, we took two pork tenderloins of the same size and weight, left one intact, then cut the other one in half crosswise and tied the halves together, one on top of the other. We then put both tenderloins into a 350 degree oven. Though they weighed exactly the same amount, the uncut tenderloin took only about half as long to reach 145 degrees. So think shape, not weight, to estimate cooking time and, as always, use your meat thermometer to check doneness early and often.
MYTH ABOUT MARINATING
THE MYTH: Marinades tenderize meat.
THE FACTS: Well, marinades that contain a high percentage of an acidic liqiuid do have a tenderizing effect on the proteins in meat. Unfortunately, though, this is only true for the proteins that the acids come in contact with, which usually means about the outer 3/16 of an inch. And even this is not so desirable, since the resulting texture is more mushy than tender. So rely on marinades to add some flavor to meats, but not for tenderness.
-From Gourmet Magazine, 2008-2009