Nutrition From Lean Meat
It is recommended that lean meat should be consumed at least three times a week to reap its benefits
When it comes to non-vegetarian food, the first thing that comes to mind is how fatty it is, how badly it could affect the heart and how obese it can make one.
A dietician is often asked about the benefits of consuming non-vegetarian food and its association with cholesterol. The good news is that not all non-vegetarian food is bad and lean meat is one such example. This meat refers to a variety which has low fat content. Generally, skinless chicken and turkey are considered the best sources of lean meat.
Skinless red meat is also considered lean meat as the skin on meat is said to contain most of the fat content and removing this layer reduces the fat content by almost 80 per cent, especially in chicken.
According to the USDA guidelines, lean meat should have less than 10 grams of fat and the cholesterol content should be not more than 95mg in a three-ounce portion. Lean meat is said to be nutritious because it is the best source of protein other than eggs. Lean meats are a good source of vitamin B complex as they are rich in vitamin B12. Other nutrients found in lean meats are selenium, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamine, iron, zinc and choline.
- Selenium acts as an antioxidant and helps remove free radicals that damage the cells. It boosts immunity and protects the heart.
- Vitamin B3, also called niacin helps in the production of stress and sex hormones in the adrenal glands. They also help in the formation of red blood cells, improve metabolism and play an important role in the development of the nervous system.
- Choline is very important for nerve functioning and helps reduce inflammation.
- Iron is easily absorbed by the human body. The iron in lean meat is herne-iron – a form of iron which is required by the body for poduction of haemoglobin. Vegetarian sources contain non-heme iron which is not absorbed easily by humans.
- Magnesium in meat helps build the bones whereas zinc is required for the development of the nervous system especially during pregnancy, as it aids in the growth of the foetus.
- The iron and zinc in animal foods is more easily absorbed by the body than in plant foods such as nuts, seeds and legumes or beans. However, the vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables help in the absorption of iron from these foods.
Lean Meat And Weight Loss
Lean meats are composed entirely of protein which has only tour calories per gram. Therefore, it is very helpful in weight loss and should definitely be part of a weight loss diet regime. This means that, when one eats lean meats, low calories are consumed.
In addition, adequate protein intake is also essential for maintaining muscle mass. The more muscle mass a body has, the higher the metabolic rate. The higher the metabolic rate, the faster the body will bum calories. Therefore, lean meats can be extremely effective in maintaining weight and can also help achieve weight loss goals. Therefore, it is recommended that lean meat should be consumed at least three times a week to reap its benefits.
Best Ways To Consume Lean Meat
- Always cook the meat at home using very little oil or by baking, grilling, or by adding them to curries or soups.
- When eating out, order meat that has been baked, grilled, poached, broiled or steamed.
- Avoid fried meat that has been cooked in butter or other creamy sauces.
- Do not eat lean meat everyday but have it thrice a week.
- Do not make lean meats the main focus of any meal but add them to dishes to increase their nutritive value.
- Be mindful of portion size for all meats and stick to having a small portion like the size of a deck of cards.
- Add vegetables, mushrooms, beans or soy products to a meat dish to make it wholesome.
- Choose products that are organic, grass-fed, free range and hormone-free whenever possible.