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Let's meat up!

Articles about nutrition often centre on plant-based foods, and for good reason. They contain fibre and many micronutrients, which I have talked about several times in this blog.

However, there is not usually much emphasis on meat. Meat is an important part of a balanced and varied diet. Red meat is an excellent source of protein and vitamin B12, and a good source of zinc and selenium. It also contains vitamins B2, B3, and B6, iron and phosphorus. These nutrients are important for the body's energy production pathways.

High intake of red meat has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, however it is important to point out that many of these studies do not separate out the quality of the meat. In other words, they do not take into account consumption of processed meats like salami and hot dogs as opposed to fresh beef. Many of the studies also do not consider the other components of the diet, such as vegetables.

The temperature at which the meat is cooked should also be considered. Very well done meats, such as barbecued meats, may contain higher amounts of carcinogenic compounds, and it may be healthier to eat red meat that is cooked at a lower temperature for longer.

Over-consumption of meat is not healthy, however moderate amounts of good quality beef can be eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Taking all this into consideration, here is the supper I prepared one night this week. Brown rice and beef bolognaise served with half a plate of vegetables. On this particular occasion, I used red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and asparagus, which is in season right now. This plate contains protein, carbohydrates and fat as well as a myriad of micronutrients and plant polyphenols.

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