Do you consider yourself a meat & potato person? Back in the day, it was a badge of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to consume a wide variety of red meats. However, countless studies suggest that reducing or eliminating meat from your diet may have several health benefits.
Red meat gets its name for its bloody appearance when uncooked. It comes from animals like cows, pigs, and sheep. Flesh from chickens, turkeys, geese, and fish turn white when cooked, so they are called white meat. Humans have been consuming these animals as the primary source of protein for thousands of years.
A Plant-Based Lifestyle is Best
All meats are not created equal. In addition to being higher in fat and cholesterol, many red meat types are chemically altered into processed foods like lunch meats, hotdogs, and bacon. White meat and other protein sources are usually leaner and have fewer calories than their red counterparts.
Did you know that diets high in red meat consumption can put you at risk for certain diseases? Research is often unclear as to how much of it people should have each day. How can you modify your diet and lifestyle for optimal health?
Many people opt to become vegetarians or vegans for health or ethical reasons. If those lifestyle changes seem too radical for you, you might consider reducing the non-white meat you eat. Meatless Mondays have been a popular concept in our country, encouraging moderation and eating more fruits and vegetables.
The good news is that you needn’t give up meat entirely to be healthy unless you wish. Remember that moderation, healthier substitutions, and wise choices are the keys. You can never go wrong with eating more plant foods and substituting white meat for red as often as possible.
Benefits of Eliminating Red Meat from Your Diet
While one or two servings of these types of meat per week may be fine, you might consider eliminating processed meats. These junk meats are laden with fat, sodium, sugar, and chemicals that aren’t good for you. Some studies suggest that meat infected with cancer is still sold to the public.
If you must have a tasty Coney dog or a salami sandwich, make it a rare treat. To jumpstart your system and commit to a healthier lifestyle, a few simple diet changes go a long way.
You will be amazed by the good alternative protein sources available. Here are some ways that science suggests your body can benefit from reducing or eliminating meat from your meals.
1. You May Experience Weight Loss
If non-white meat is high in saturated fats, it stands to reason that consuming too much could make you obese. The extra weight can cause cardiac disease and a host of other deadly diseases and disorders. Lower your fat intake from this meat, and you will lower your risk factors.
When you have the occasional steak or pork chop, make sure to purchase the leanest cuts possible. Trim any visible fat to save calories and fat grams. Your diligence will show as you lose fat and weight when you step on the scales.
2. Your Heart Will Thank You
It’s probably not news to you that a diet high in red meat can contribute to coronary issues. When you consume this type of meat, it ends up as fat deposits on your body. Plus, its high cholesterol content can increase plaque build-up in your arteries, causing strokes and heart attacks.
Why not substitute most of the red for healthier white options, like poultry or fish. Multiple studies over the world demonstrate that fish is a rich source of amino acids and good fats that encourage heart health.
3. You May Reduce Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease
In addition to enhancing your heart health, reducing beef, pork, and lamb consumption can benefit your brain cells. While the word is still out on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, research has noted a definite link between it and consuming these animals.
When medical experts study the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, they notice tell-tale plaque build-up. Some of these plaque growths may be blamed on years of eating meats that are red instead of other options. Although eliminating these meats isn’t a magic wand, reducing Alzheimer’s risks may be worth your effort.
4. Give Yourself Some More Energy
How do you feel after eating a large meal that is heavy on beef, pork, or lamb? You probably leave the table bloated and ready to collapse on the couch. It’s no wonder you feel like you need a nap after consuming such a meal.
When you reduce your fat and calorie intake and choose leaner white meat options, your body will see the difference. Nutritious, whole food fuels your body and boosts your energy. You will lose fat and have more power for exercise, which means you can spend more quality time with the ones you love.
5. You Could Reduce Your Chances of Cancer
Many healthcare professionals have remarked that cancer may be the greatest epidemic in modern times. The chances are that you or someone you love has been touched by this cruel disease at least one time or another. While medical science makes astronomical strides in cancer treatments each year, it’s still an uphill battle.
Do your eating habits put you at risk for developing cancer? You probably know that smoking and a sedimentary lifestyle are risk factors, but did you realize the meats you eat are, too? When you eat less red and replace it with lean white meat, you significantly reduce your chances of getting colorectal and other cancers.
6. Be Kinder to Your Skin, Hair, and Nails
Some nutrients that are vital for healthy skin, hair, and nails can only be found in meat. Vegetarians and vegans often must take supplements to make up for their deficiencies. However, you can get amino acids and beneficial fats from fish and other protein options other than from cows, pigs, and lambs.
When you are consuming less meat, you may substitute it with more fruits and veggies, the more colorful, the better. These whole foods pack a punch of vitamins and minerals that defend your cells against free radicals. Your complexion will look younger and healthier.
Many people who reduce or eliminate red meat varieties often see a noticeable difference in their skin, hair, and nails. Your skin may look more radiant, your hair is more luxurious, and your nails less brittle. You don’t have to eat steaks and lambchops for these beauty benefits.
7. Less Red May Mean Less Acidity
Have you read recent studies about highly acidic bodies and lethal diseases? While our bodies naturally work to keep a safe PH balance, overeating acidic foods like non-white meat can raise the acid level. High PH balances have been linked to cancer, diabetes, and many other maladies.
Do you want to reduce acid and balance your PH levels? Medical experts recommend a diet of less meat, especially red. They also suggest that you enjoy more fruits and vegetables that are low in acid. Your PH balanced diet can create an environment for healthy gut microbes to flourish and eliminate harmful ones that cause disease.
Did you know that being overly acidic can be the root cause of inflammation in your body? Just think of the myriads of painful disorders that inflammation causes, like arthritis, tissue disease, and cancer. Less acid can mean less inflammation and a healthier you.
8. You May Enjoy a Longer Life
There is no fountain of youth; however, your life’s length and quality are directly affected by what you eat and how you live. One way you may tack on a few years is to reduce or eliminate your meat consumption.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that vegetarians and vegans often enjoy better health than their meat-eating peers. You can still reap the longevity benefits by substituting some red with white meat or veggie protein options. Your diet and overall health are directly linked.
9. A Kinder Diet Can Benefit the Environment
Perhaps, you have chosen to go meat-free because of bioethical reasons. You just don’t feel right taking another life for food. While less or no meat consumption may be kinder to the animals, it may also benefit the environment.
Did you know that methane produced by cows alone is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases? These gases pollute the air and deplete the beneficial ozone layer, allowing more hazardous solar radiation into our atmosphere.
Raising farm animals for slaughter also takes its toll on the land and crop production. Do you realize the millions of acres that are dedicated to herding animals? The land is also often over-farmed to raise the tons of grain needed for animal feed each year.
If your heart and values convince you to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, perhaps another benefit would be the peace of mind. You won’t need to feel guilty by eating a diet that contradicts your belief system. You may be less depressed and anxious because of your personal decision as well as see weight loss.
If you’re considering reducing or eliminating red meat dishes from your family, consider your options. These are just a few of the many benefits that scientific research has demonstrated from others who have made the decision.
Talk to a certified nutritionist about exciting and delicious meatless choices you and your family can enjoy. One of the most significant ways you can cut back is to eliminate processed meat like hot dogs, bologna, and other lunch meats.