7 most frequently asked questions about red meat … answered!
One of Wales’ leading weight management experts Sioned Quirke dispels the myths about eating red meat. Sioned is a Dietetic Manager, Specialist Dietitian and TV nutritionist. Here she gives us the lowdown on the benefits and nutritional value of red meat and the essential role it plays in a healthy balanced diet.
1. Is it OK to eat red meat?
Let’s start with the core conundrum. To eat red meat or not. Essentially it is down to you what you eat, but here we will present you with the facts. And the main fact is, yes, it is OK to eat red meat. Red meat such as Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef can be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet. In fact, if you eradicated red meat completely from your diet, you could be doing yourself a disservice. The quality of the nutrients in red meat in particular make it easier for the body to use them efficiently. You can enjoy red meat and get the most out of it if you eat it lean and in moderation.
Watch Sioned’s tips and advice here.
2. Can red meat be a part of a healthy diet?
Absolutely! The nutritional value of red meat is impressive. It contains a range of beneficial nutrients including protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals – all important for essential functions in the body and to maintain health. Although red meat does contain fat, not all of this fat is unhealthy. Red meat is high in iron which is important to make red blood cells, and if we don’t get enough iron, we can feel tired and fatigued.
Watch Sioned’s tips and advice on how to make the most of red meat in a healthy diet.
3. Why do I need iron in my diet?
Iron is a mineral which is required by the body for several different roles in the body including making red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body. If we don’t get enough iron we are at risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia, leaving us feeling tired, weak and irritable. Animal-based iron sources such as red meat like Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef are particularly rich sources of iron and are most easily absorbed by the body. Did you know that while eating plenty of greens is a good thing, eating red meat alongside them can boost your iron status!
Watch Sioned for more information on iron in your diet.
4. Why is red meat classed as a complete protein?
Everyone needs protein in their diet. It’s an essential nutrient and encourages muscle mass and the growth and repair of the body’s cells. Red meats such as Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef are extremely rich in protein and classed as a complete protein, as it contains every amino acid we require. This means that the body can absorb and use it very efficiently and effectively compared to other sources of protein. The other advantage of eating protein-rich foods is that they tend to make us feel fuller than foods high in carbohydrates or fat. So including a lean source of protein with a meal can help to minimise feelings of hunger and decrease overall energy intake. Studies also suggest that as we get older we may benefit from eating more protein because it helps minimise the muscle loss associated with aging.
Watch Sioned explain what complete protein means.
5. Is the fat in red meat bad for me?
Now let’s address the other elephant in the room…fat. Fat has been a topic in the media for years and it can be confusing about what to believe. The fact is that fat is an essential part of the diet. It carries fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K and is a source of energy. You may have also heard of Omega 3. These are a type of essential fatty acid that that the body can’t make enough of, so need to be supplied by the diet. They are important to prevent chronic diseases and for heart health.
Watch Sioned to help you distinguish between the good fats and the bad fats and how to make adjustments when cooking red meat.
6. Is eating red meat good for my immune system?
‘Immunity’ is a word that’s used a lot recently, so now it’s as important as ever to understand how to maintain our immune system. The immune system requires a variety of nutrients in order to work as well as it possibly can. Vitamins are essential to immunity as they make and repair all of the cells in the body, and iron and zinc are involved in making and maintaining white blood cells which fight off infection. It’s not widely known, but red meat, especially grass fed like Welsh Lamb, can contribute to Omega 3 intakes which are important for the immune system by making and maintaining white blood cells.
Watch Sioned’s advice on red meat and your immune system.
7. Should all ages eat red meat?
Red meat, which is a nutrient-rich high quality protein food, can play an important role in helping us meet our essential nutrient needs throughout our life cycle. From the growth and development years of infancy and childhood through to our cognitive and physical function as older adults, our nutrition requirements will vary. In addition, consuming red meat in the recommended portion size during pregnancy can have numerous health benefits.
Watch Sioned explain the benefits of eating red meat at all stages of life.