Today, there is no doubt that you can properly balance your diet and take care of your health and shape without having to eat meat. As a rule, however, this is not the most optimal and most beneficial solution - especially when it comes to athletes, both professional and amateur. Speaking of meat, the question is what meat to choose - white or red? Which one is more desirable in our diet?
Why is meat an important part of the diet?
Meat is one of the main sources of protein in the diet. The protein found in meat is a protein of high nutritional value and full of amino acids. Meat also supplies iron, B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 - where the deficiencies are subjected to vegetarians and vegans - as well as zinc.
Types of meat
Meat is divided into three categories:
- White meat
- Red meat
Red meat is the muscle and internal organs of land mammals. The distinctive red color of land mammals is owed to the presence of large amounts of myoglobin in the muscle cells, which is responsible for the storage of oxygen.
Red meat includes:
White meat includes:
- Chicken meat
- Turkey meat
- Rabbit meat
- Remaining poultry
Chicken breast fillets and turkey are most often recommended. The belief that white meat is healthier than red meat is quite common. Poultry, unlike red meat, does not have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system because of the low cholesterol content.
Poultry meat is in fact a good source of protein - it delivers about 20g of protein per 100g of product. It contains negligible amounts of fat and cholesterol.
It’s also a relatively cheap and easily accessible meat.
The undoubted advantage of poultry is its easy and quick thermal treatment. Just a few minutes to fry or cook a chicken breast.
Compared to other meats, poultry - especially chicken / turkey - is sterile and poor in nutrients. Besides the protein, we can also find vitamin PP and pyridoxine in it. At the same time it is a meat poor in iron, zinc and B vitamins.
Proper iron supply is essential to ensure proper oxygen distribution to all tissues and organs.
The only downside to beef are its high price as well as longer thermal processing times than chicken.
Remember, however, that we do not have to bring the expensive beef sirloin into this, we can successfully include a haunch beef or roast beef in our diet. If the beef is ground or finely chopped, it will also be easy and quick to prepare.
Pork meat is often demonized and considered to be of the third category. It is believed to be low in nutritional meat and high in saturated fatty acids, which has a negative effect on cardiovascular health.
Indeed, pork meat is a bit richer in fat compared to poultry or lean beef. However, there is a misconception that these are mainly saturated fats. Pork meat is dominated by monounsaturated fatty acids - Omega 9, which is also found in olive oil.
Pork is also a valuable source of iron, zinc and B vitamins.
The additional advantage of pig meat is its affordable price.
Game meat, such as deer and wild boar meat, is extremely valuable, not only in terms of taste but also in terms of fatty acid content. In wildlife meat we will find a much better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 than conventional meat.
The downsides to wild meat are primarily accessibility. However, if you get a chance, you should include venison in your menu.
Which meat to choose - white or red?
The best solution is diversity. We should not confine ourselves to poultry or red meat only. Let's get both white and red meat. When choosing poultry, do not rely solely on chicken breasts. We can also incorporate meat from chicken legs into the diet as well as offal. Do not be afraid to go for pork, especially pork chop or pork ham. Certainly they will be a valuable ingredient in our diet. It’s nice to also go for beef and venison as often as possible.
What we certainly have to give up is the processed meat - such as any type of sausage. These products often contain poor quality meat, including mechanically separated meat, as well as undesirable ingredients such as soybean protein fillers, large amounts of salt and preservatives.
Let's not forget about fish and eggs. It is worth including them in your diet.
Remember that heat treatment of meat is also important. The best choices are steaming, cooking, stewing and roasting in foil.
In conclusion, the most popular meat is chicken breast fillet. It should be borne in mind, however, that in terms of nutritional value, it’s the meat with the lowest vitamins and minerals content. Do not be afraid to go for pork, beef and venison. The key, in the context of a healthy and well-balanced diet, is primarily variety.