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Meat, vital for good health

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Eating habits have a direct influence on health and, according to many studies, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best dietary patterns for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing illnesses. The Mediterranean diet pyramid is comprised of many foods, among which meat and meat products take pride of place. The latter is an essential part of our diet and should be included every day in a balanced, responsible way so as to note its benefits.

Meat trends and consumption

Although people are familiar with meat products, many don't know which of the many varieties available in the market are the most popular. According to data from the FAO, production of pork is the highest and, therefore, it is the most consumed meat in the world, and in Spain.

However, it's not the only popular meat. In Spain, consumption of rabbit is on the rise, and both meats are lean, i.e. they are low in fat, an attribute that is sought out by consumers.

So it's worth asking: how much meat should we eat? The Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) recommends eating three to four servings each week, primarily lean meats. One serving of meat has a net weight of between 100 and 125 grams.

Types of meat and how they impact health

As we have explained, meat is a common part of our diet, and it contains lots of nutrients; however, the same question often arises: Which is better: red or white meat? Red meat has more fat and cholesterol, most of which is saturated, so it is higher in calories. The color is determined by the iron content, with the result that red meat has a more intense color because it has more iron than white meat. White meat is low in fat, which makes it a healthy option.

The best way to eat healthy is to consume different types of meat, as our bodies need a variety of nutrients to function correctly, but it's important to know which type is best at any given time.

Meat and its nutritional properties

Both meat and meat products are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Its proteins have high biological value as they are easily absorbed and provide all of the essential amino acids, i.e. compounds which must come from our food as the human body isn't capable of producing enough of them.

Accordingly, meat consumption is recommended for children and young people, as they are growing. It's also recommended for women before and after giving birth, and for adults who engage in intense physical activity.

Meat is also ideal for preventing nutrient deficiencies, such as anemia, due to a lack of iron or vitamins involved in creating red blood cells, such as B12 and folic acid.

Meat, important for health

Eating healthy means choosing nutritional cuts of meat with low cholesterol. In terms of beef, it's best to eat lean cuts, such as tenderloin and sirloin. When it comes to lamb, the ideal option is leg, and with pork, the least fatty cuts are sirloin, shoulder and tenderloin.

Meat and meat products not only play a very important role in nutrition, since they are a valuable source of protein, but they are also an ideal nutritious option for healthy people when eaten as part of a varied diet.

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