The Facts About The Importance Of Meat In Nutrition

The Facts About The Importance Of Meat In Nutrition

Meat products belong to one of the six major food groups. Poultry, pork, red meat, game and fish all provide the body with essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins in order for it to remain healthy.

Recently, however, there has been public controversy concerning just how healthy eating meat on a daily basis really is, especially red meat.

It’s argued the consumption of red meat directly links to heart disease and even cancer. Meanwhile, fears have grown about the amount of fat in all meats, particularly saturated fat.

So, what are the facts?



Meat has a very high mineral content including body essentials like magnesiumzinc and iron.

Magnesium is important for bone strength as it improves vitamin D synthesis as well as help decrease net acid production. It’s thought the consumption of magnesium through diet could assist in preventing osteoporosis.

Zinc is vital for the body’s immune system and is essential for muscle growth and repair.

Most importantly, iron helps to maintain energy levels as well as maximize oxygen transport throughout the body. If there isn’t enough iron being consumed people run the risk of developing anemia and fatigue. Red meat and turkey are particularly iron rich.


Meat is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for any healthy diet. It helps build and repair muscle as well as help maintain healthy hair, bones, skin and blood.

Due to its High Biological Value (HBV), protein obtained from meat is easily digested and thus absorbed quickly and effectively by the body.

Red meatchicken and turkey are extremely high in protein.



Vitamins are vital in maintaining a healthy body. Meat is a particularly good source of vitamin E and B vitamins including B2, B6 and B12.

Vitamin E has very strong antioxidant properties and helps reduce damage caused by oxygen to cells thus allowing faster muscle repair and recovery.

B vitamins all work together to help convert food into energy but they also have individual uses. B2 is essential for the manufacture of red blood cells, which then transport the oxygen around the body. B6 is vital for protein synthesis and B12 is imperative for good nerve functions.

Other Benefits

Minerals, protein and vitamins aside, meats, especially fish, provide the body with essential unsaturated fats like Omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 can actually help reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

What To Watch Out For

Unfortunately, meat can be high in saturated fats. Lamb, pork, beef and duck are considered the worst culprits.

Too many sat fats can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.

However, when choosing which meat to buy, opt for lean cuts like roast joints, skinless chicken breasts,turkey and extra lean steaks and trim any excess fat before cooking.

In essence, meat should be consumed as part of a healthy diet particularly for athletes.

While the benefits of meat seem to outweigh the negatives, it’s important to moderate the daily intake, as too much could potentially have harmful consequences.

According to the American Heart Association, the daily consumption of meat should be limited to 6oz.


Pork: Good or Bad

Pork: Good or Bad



Trimming the Fat
If you’re looking for the healthiest pork options, you want lean cuts — tenderloin, loin chops and sirloin roast. Bacon and other fatty cuts are very high in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol and not for everyday eating. Baked ham and lunch meat fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to fat and calories. Just like with other meats, pork is safe when cooked to the proper internal temperature (it’s 160F for pork).

Some folks are conscientious of the environmental impact of meats they eat. If that’s you, look for local and free-range purveyors of pork products — just like you would for chicken and beef. Local or free-range products may have a higher price tag, but you can offset the cost in other ways like committing to a meatless day once a week.

Nutrition Facts
Lean cuts of pork are high in protein, low in fat and have more B-vitamins (thiamin, niacin, B6 and B12) than many other types of meat. These vitamins play a role in a variety of body functions, including metabolism and energy production (that’s why we had it on our “energizing foods” list). For some perspective, let’s compare 3 ounces of cooked pork tenderloin to the same amount of cooked chicken breast — as you’ll see, they aren’t all that different:

Pork Tenderloin
Calories: 96 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 grams
Cholesterol: 48 milligrams
Protein: 18 grams
Iron 6%
Thiamin 45%
Niacin 30%
B6 27%
B12 6%

Pork also contains healthy doses of zinc and selenium.

Chicken Breast
Calories: 142 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 grams
Cholesterol: 73 milligrams
Protein: 27 grams
Iron 5%
Thiamin 4%
Niacin 59%
B6 26%
B12 5%

Chicken is also a good source of selenium.

Of course, what you choose to eat is always a personal decision. If you’re a pork fan, below is a collection of recipes you might want to try. If not, check out alternative meats like bison, which is also lean, or consider a more vegetarian-focused diet.

Pork recipes to try:

Read more at FoodNetwork

So, if you are wondering if Pork is the other white meat, if you get a good lean cut of pork it is better for you than chicken breast. That really is the other white meat!

Five good reasons for eating meat

Five good reasons for eating meat

  1. Meat is a natural part of a balanced diet
    Meat is useful in ensuring a good balance of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals within the diet.
  2. Meat is a key source of protein
    Meat contains a number of essential nutritional elements – protein, for instance, has a high biological value.
  3. Meat protein is very useful when dieting
    When measured by energy unit, protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates and fat. As the availability of lean cuts is wider than ever, avoiding excess fat is quite easy.
  4. Meat is rich in vitamins
    Meat is a good source of vitamin D, which prevents osteoporosis. Additionally, meat contains a number of vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, B12 and niacin as well as iron.
  5. Meat is rich in vital minerals
    Meat makes a valuable contribution to a varied diet, including a number of minerals, particularly zinc and selenium.