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winter on the ranch

Red Meat Is Nature’s Multi-Vitamin, Says Study

Have you ever heard the phrase, “overfed but undernourished?” This aptly describes the two-thirds of Americans who are considered overweight or obese. As a society, we are eating plenty, but are we getting the nutrients we need to thrive? And, if not, how does this impact our daily performance, longevity and future generations?

Amidst a sea of Meatless Mondays campaigns and anti-beef sentiments, a new study in the United Kingdom (UK) highlights the crucial role of red meat [3] in the diet.

The study, which is entitled, “The Seven Ages Of Man – Is There A Role For Meat In The Diet?” is set to be published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin.

Here’s an excerpt from a report [4] on the study:

“Millions of people are putting their health at risk because of inadequate intakes of vital vitamins and minerals, a new study has revealed. But the research also highlights just how important the role of red meat [5] is in the diet in helping to cover this nutrition gap. Meat has been a staple part of the human diet since the dawn of mankind, but in recent years there has been some debate over whether too much red meat can raise the risk of health problems. Now a team of researchers has studied the issue of meat in the diet to help gauge just how important it is for a healthy mind and body – as well as the crucial nutrients that red meat in the diet brings.

“The latest study found that data from dietary surveys indicates that diets for people of all ages can be worryingly low in nutrients normally found in meat, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and potassium. The researchers say that integrating red meat into diets across the age spectrum, from infanthood to old age, may help to narrow the present gap between vitamin and mineral intakes and recommended levels. In addition, there is emerging evidence that nutrients commonly found in red meat may play a role in supporting cognitive function, immune health and addressing iron deficiency.”

So, what is red meat’s role in the diet? Here is what the study finds:

“Red meat – defined as beef, veal, pork and lamb, which is fresh, minced or frozen – is a source of high-quality protein and important micronutrients. Beef and lamb are classed as a ‘rich source’ – more than 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) - of vitamin B3 (niacin), B12 (cyanocobalamin) and zinc. It is also a ‘source’ – 15% or more of the RDA - of iron, potassium and phosphorous. Pork is also a ‘rich source’ of vitamin B1 (thiamin). Meat, particularly from grass-fed animals, can be a valuable source of long chain (LC) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that these fatty acids support normal fetal development as well as help lower the risk of inflammatory conditions, depression and dementia in later life. Red meat is also an important source of heme iron - a type that is readily absorbed - and data shows that average iron intakes in the UK are inadequate, especially among females in general and during pregnancy.”

I encourage you to read through the study’s findings, which rebut pronouncements [6] that beef has an adverse effect on health. Additionally, it breaks down the deficiencies most commonly found in babies, young people and the elderly, and how red meat can help bridge the nutritional gap.

This is a fantastic study to read and share. Check it out and post it on your favorite social media sites. The good news is you can enjoy your steak or burger, knowing that it’s not just good, but it’s nature’s multi-vitamin, too.

What do you think about this study? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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By the way, response to our “Winter On The Ranch” photo contest has been huge! With close to 200 entries, we will be working hard to sort through them all and select our finalists, which will be announced on Monday.

In the meantime, check out the complete gallery here [7]. Feel free to “lobby” for your favorites and leave a comment in the photo gallery for images you think should make our finalist list! Remember, $200 in VISA gift cards are up for grabs. Good luck!