6. Try to keep it in perspective
Again, it’s important to note we’re talking about relative, not absolute, risk. There are still far more risky things you can be doing and consuming that will have more of an effect on your health – smoking and alcohol, for a start.
7. We don’t really know why red meat is a risk
Experts are not sure why red meat might elevate risk of disease. It’s possible it may come from the saturated fat or iron it delivers. It may also be down to potentially cancer-causing compounds generated when cooking red meat at high temperatures. Or it might be sodium (salt) related. Red meat eaters may also be more likely to have other risk factors for diseases.
8. Just a little can still be good for you
On the other hand, none of these experts are recommending we give up red meat altogether. That’s because it’s a nutritious, useful food. The WCRF says meat can be a valuable source of nutrients, in particular protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
9. Red meat is high in vital nutritional ingredients
Protein provides satiety; it helps us feel full and it helps build muscle and other tissues. Iron is important for energy, immunity and to carrying oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency can be a real problem, especially for young women, and red meat is a really good way to efficiently get enough iron. And vitamin B12 is vital to keep our nerve and blood cells healthy. It’s only found in animal foods and again, red meat is a good source.
10. Don’t forget your vegetables
The WCRF recommends that if we do eat meat, we keep it to around three portions a week; equivalent to about 350-500 grams (about 12 to 18 ounces), cooked weight. It’s also important to eat lots of plant foods as well, including legumes and whole grains, which are known to lower the risk of some cancers.
In the end, we don’t need to eat red meat for health – and for some of us, cutting down will be a good way to improve overall health. But we don’t have to give it up, either. If we want to eat it, paying attention and keeping our red meat servings small and occasional will mean we can still have our steak and eat it too.
Article by Niki Bezzant supplied by Les Mills International