Meat is defined as the edible part of a mammal. The meat industry is one of the largest in the world, and according to the USDA, the United States is the largest beef producer.
Red meat is generally derived from cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, donkeys, buffaloes, deer, and horses. Red meat is a high source of proteins and other essential micronutrients and minerals such as B vitamins and iron.
In this article, I will discuss red meat, the various red meat animals, and which is the healthiest for you to eat.
What is red meat?
Red meat refers to meat cut from cattle, sheep, and goats (beef, veal, lamb, mutton, and goat). In general, meat in the red meat category is red before and sometimes after cooking.
Meats such as beef, venison, and lamb are red because they are high in a protein called myoglobin. This is an iron-rich protein that gives meat its red color.
Nutritional information on red meat
Red meats provide a ton of nutrients.
For example, 4 ounces (or a 100 grams) serving of red meat.
- Vitamin B12
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Examples of red meat animals
Beef is the meat from adult cattle and the most commonly consumed type of red meat. Different cuts of beef are used in making different types of steak, and some types of beef steak, such as tenderloin steak, which is one of the most tender and consumed cuts of meat.
Beef is good for you when consumed in moderation. It is one of the best iron, vitamin B12, and zinc sources. Studies suggest grass-fed beef is one of the healthiest kinds of beef type.
A 100 gram of ground grass-fed beef contains about 19g of protein and 12g of fat, of which only 5g is saturated fat. Grass-fed beef is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid.
Doctors from the National Health Service say that beef can be part of a healthy diet. However, choosing lean cuts categories of beef is essential, and watching your portion size is vital.
Pork is classified as red meat due to myoglobin levels in the meat, even though fresh pork is lighter in color than beef and becomes very light when cooked.
Due to its cheap cost and high protein content, pork remains one of the world’s most popular kinds of red meat. As with most cuts of meat, the exact nutritional content of pork varies; it mostly depends on the type of cut.
Pork is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimal performance. For instance, a 100 gram serving of pork loin contains high levels of thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6. These are essential nutrients for cardiovascular health and good energy metabolism.
3. Sheep (Lamb or mutton meat)
Many regard lamb meat as one of the healthiest types of red meat that you can eat. Lamb meat is an important source of high-quality protein and essential amino acids.
Mutton is similar to lamb meat, but the only difference is that mutton is the meat of an adult sheep, specifically above 6 months of age.
One of the reasons why lamb is a healthy kind of red meat is that lamb is usually reared naturally. They are bred by eating grass and are generally fed a natural, healthy diet.
A 3 ounce (or 85 gram) serving of cooked lamb contains 20g of protein and 8.6g of fat (half of which are unsaturated types of fat). Lamb is also a good source of vitamin B12, niacin, and riboflavin.
It is important to remember that the fat content of lamb varies greatly between cuts. To choose the healthiest cut of lamb, pick leaner cuts, specifically from the loin and leg.
4. Goat meat
Although goat meat is rarely consumed in the US, it is an example of one of the healthiest variety of red meat that you can buy as it contains less fat than beef.
Goat meat is one of the most popular meats in the Mediterranean, African, and Middle Eastern countries. Goat meat is served in stews; it can be roasted, grilled, and in curries.
Because it has fewer calories than pork and beef but the same amount of protein, goat meat is considered a healthy choice of red meat.
The nutritional value of goat meat shows just how good this meat is. A 3 ounce (or 85 gram) serving of goat meat contains just 122 calories and 2.5g of fat. But you still get around 23g of protein in this medium-sized portion. Goat meat also has more iron compared to beef and pork.
Venison is a type of meat gotten from a deer, and it is very healthy for you because it is classified as lean red meat. It is rich in all the B-group vitamins and contains plenty of essential minerals.
Although venison ranks high in the list of healthiest types of red meat, its high cost seems to put many people off eating it. Deer meat is also full of flavor despite the fact it has very little fat in it.
Looking at its nutritional value, it is easy to see why venison is a healthy red meat choice. A 3 ounce (or 85 gram) serving of venison contains 25g of protein, 127 calories, and just 2g of fat; less than half of the fat content is saturated fat.
Is red meat healthier than white meat?
Yes, it is. Though white meat has nutrients, red meat contains more than white meat.
Which red meat is the healthiest?
Pork, beef, and venison tends to be the healthiest kind of red meat.
How often should you eat red meat?
Try to limit your red meat consumption to 1 to 2 servings per week, which is 6 ounces or less per week.
Is chicken red meat?
No, they are not. Chicken, turkey, and other meat from fowl (birds) are considered white meat.
Is fish red meat?
No, they are not. All poultry and fish are classified as white meat.
Red meat has an endless number of benefits. But like every other food, excess intake may have unforeseen side effects. Always watch the quantity or portion you consume.
The Department of Health advises people to consume 90g or less red meat daily. A thin slice of pork, lamb, or beef the size of half a slice of bread provides about 30g of meat.
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Thank you for reading.