Red meat is often wrongly portrayed as being unhealthy. Even chicken has been getting attacked by some in the media as being unhealthy or not environmentally friendly. Vegan, fish and other non-meat diets have been proposed as healthier alternatives. The result of this onslaught of negative meat messages has influenced many people, including moms and dads, to drastically cut back on their meat and poultry purchases. Perceptions may be seen as reality, yet truth trumps non-truths. Parents and other consumers want what is best for their health and that of their families. They are also aware that a lot of false information is out there and, as such, are open to scientific facts that can correct their misconceptions. Let’s iron out the truth on meat so your team members can help educate their customers.
Meat is a great source of iron that can’t often be replicated by vegetable consumption. For a woman to receive her recommended daily intake of 18 milligrams of iron, she would need 300 grams of cooked bovine liver, 625 grams of cooked beef or 2.4 kilograms of spinach.
In addition, the iron found in vegetables is harder to absorb than the iron found in meat, because it is attached to fiber, which inhibits its absorption.
Meat also is essential for brain health, because it contains zinc, which is crucial for learning and memory as well as its antioxidant powers that help create antibodies to fight free radicals that increase the risk for chronic diseases. Meat also is a source for vitamin B12, which helps preserve the sheaths that protect nerves.
The protein in meat also helps build and repair body tissues. Muscles are made of protein and that is why athletes who are building muscle strength increase their meat protein consumption. The protein and zinc found in meat are important for muscle growth and repair.
Meat is a complete protein, containing all of the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make by itself: histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lycine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine and valine.
Meat also contains lots of the B vitamins needed for the production of hormones, red blood cells and for the proper functioning of your nervous system. It is full of niacin, folic acid, thiamine, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
You and your team can counter negative meat health myths by setting the record straight.
Ronnie P. Cons is CEO of C&C Packing Inc., a leading distributor of meat and poultry. He can be reached at RCons@CCpacking.com.