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Phone: 01564 33 99 55 Email: hello@andreabayles.co.uk
Andrea Bayles Nutritional Therapist
ND, Dip Nutr, Dip Herb, MBANT, MURHP, MCNHC

Red meat versus fish......which is best?

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With so much in the press these days about healthy eating, it would be easy to become confused as to whether red meat is good for you or not! It is true that it contains so many good vitamins it would be hard to understand why a delicious steak could possibly be bad for your health! In this month's newsletter, I thought I'd highlight the pros and cons of eating red meat.

Red meat is an essential source of iron and protein. The elderly, pregnant ladies, children, teenagers and those going through the menopause benefit hugely from increased levels of iron and protein in their diet. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation and for carrying oxygen around the body. For healthy skin and immune system, again, meat comes up trumps with its high levels of zinc. Red meat contains all the amino acids a body cannot create on its own and of course to complete the picture, it is high in B Vitamins needed for nerve cells and blood formation.

So, while red meat can have real health benefits, we need to bear in mind that it's not the 'be all and end all' of what we need to eat. It doesn't contain fibre or aid digestion for example and as a protein can be hard to digest for some people. Red meat contains arachadonic acids which for some people with 'acidic' conditions such as gout and arthritis can make symptoms worse.

Red meat is one of the foods doctors ask you to cut down on if you have high cholesterol. Various studies have threatened that it can increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's Disease, increase the risk of osteoporosis and bowel cancer but if we listened to everything we read, we wouldn't eat anything! What is important is that we eat a balanced, nutritious diet with the right amount of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.

Eating fish as compared to other animal products does have its benefits. Many people have lowered their cholesterol once they have cut down on the meat they eat and also lost weight. Fish has less saturated fat than other meats, cheese and oils, but is still high in protein allowing us to repair damage, make hormones and build stronger muscles. Fish is rich in the essential Omega 3 fatty acids and conversely will help to remove plaque from our arteries rather than a build up caused by the saturated fats in meat. Because omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory, joint pain and stiffness are reduced by eating more oily fish and bone loss is prevented due to high levels of calcium.

If you are a meat eater, it is hugely beneficial to supplement your diet with Omega 3 fats in order to prevent an increase in arterial plaques and cholesterol.

The main thing is to have variety in your diet from all food groups.  Make sure your diet is interesting as well as nutritious. Eating a varied diet helps prevent diseases and keeping you on top form!

 

 

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