Brain and Health – Where’s the Meat?

I’m just going to get to the meat of it with the third article in my brain and health series. Let us find out if meat is really good for you, what meats might be bad for us, and does meat affect our moods. Do you prefer beef, chicken, pork, or maybe all three? B12 is an essential nutrient found in meat. Has anyone tried the carnivore diet? I haven’t, but my curiosity has led me to include some research for you all regarding our health and meat. Hopefully we won’t get hungry!

Do you have a beef with me?

Yes, I do love a good steak, but I also would like to know if it is good for me. Evidence is now mixed, and not all studies are showing a significant link between the saturated fat found in beef and heart disease. Beef is an excellent source of iron which carries oxygen through our blood stream to our cells and muscles. An excessively high amount of iron in the body could lead to liver problems, cancer, or even heart disease. Numerous studies have indicated that eating well done meat may increase your risk of different cancers. It also contains different amounts of fats that have been linked to health benefits like weight loss. Beef is mostly protein that contains 9 essential amino acids for our body’s functions. Here are some of the important nutrients found in beef

  • Zinc – a mineral our bodies use for growth and maintenance, helps boost the immune system
  • Selenium – an important trace element that supports various functions throughout our body
  • Niacin – or B3, an essential vitamin that aids in the function of our digestive, nervous, and skin systems
  • Vitamin B6 – helps with the formation of blood and increases energy
  • Phosphorus – aids in the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones
  • Creatine – creates energy for muscles and helps our brain functions
  • Vitamin D3 – a deficiency of D3 may lead to problems like depression, cancer, or Multiple Sclorosis
  • Omega 3
  • Carnosine – possible link to protecting our brain and body against the effects of aging.
  • Taurine – an antioxidant amino acid
  • Vitamin B12 – helps the brain, nervous system, and the formation of blood

So, do I have a beef with beef…not me. From my research and my opinion it is actually good for you if you eat in moderation along with other healthy diet choices. Apparently, grass fed beef is healthier for us than grain fed because it is higher in some of the nutrients found in beef. You can even buy beef online. Blood formation, brain function, muscle maintenance, and energy are just a few of the benefits to eating beef.

Eat the chicken!

Or are you chicken? Chicken is a great source for lean protein, and that is probably why most people include it in their healthy eating choices. Also, low in fat and sodium, and like beef they also contain niacin, selenium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. Vitamin B12 and choline found in chicken have been linked to benefiting brain function including memory. We can also find omega 3, omega 6, vitamin D, A, magnesium, folate, vitamin E, calcium, and many B vitamins besides the ones already mentioned. Chicken is an excellent source of creatine which has been found to have many benefits. These benefits include increased stamina and strength, and some studies have found a link to improved short-term memory, intelligence, stress relief, and aging. (Pubmed.gov).

There are so many ways to cook chicken, and with the health benefits I will probably be adding more to my recipe book. Repairing tissue, building muscle mass, and helping to feel full longer are just a few of the upsides to an increased protein intake. Many of the nutrients found in chicken may benefit our minds and our bodies in so many ways, but I would also be aware of how it is cooked. Fried chicken, and raw chicken could have very harmful effects on our bodies.

I love bacon!

Bacon is good for you… There! I said it, but it is still my own opinion. Let me show you what I found. Bacon itself is found to contain around 50% monounsaturated fat which is considered healthy for your heart. The other 50% of fat consists of polyunsaturated, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Many scientists are now saying that our dietary cholesterol has minor effects on the cholesterol in our bodies. Health professionals still say that saturated fat causes heart disease, but studies have been unable to find any consistent results showing this. Processed pork like ham and bacon are often high in salt, or sodium, which may be why bacon is often associated with things like heart disease or cancer.

Just like beef and chicken, pork contains many nutrients that are beneficial to our body processes. Pork is high in protein and essential amino acids for maintenance and growth. Other nutrients found in pork are B12 and many other B vitamins, selenium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Thiamin is one of the B vitamins found in pork. Many studies have found that a deficiency in thiamin could cause confusion, short-term memory loss, impaired sensory, reflex, and motor functions. Even other mental symptoms like Alzheimer’s disease. (National Institutes of Health).

A closer look at vitamin B12

Animal foods are the only good dietary source for B12, because there is none found in plant foods unless they are fortified. Our bodies cannot produce B12. People with a deficiency in B12 could cause symptoms of tiredness, weakness, constipation, nerve problems, dementia, and depression. Many of the benefits of B12 have been linked to

  • Preventing birth defects
  • Improve bone health
  • Reduce risk of eye disease
  • Prevent the loss of neurons in the brain
  • Boost energy
  • Improved hair, skin, and nail health

Vitamin B12 has been found to play a role in the production of serotonin, which is responsible for regulating our moods. This reduces the symptoms of depression. There are supplements for those of you that do not eat meat.

Where’s the meat?

It is definitely going to be found in my diet. I’ve considered the vegan diet before because my aunt has been successful with her non animal diet, but after this research I will keep meat in our meal plans. The brain uses 20% of our energy, and the consumption of meat is high in protein which boosts our energy. There is not really any consistent evidence in studies linking meat consumption directly to heart disease. In my opinion, problems in our bodies like heart disease or cancer are probably caused by associated factors like the way the food is cooked or processed. Over cooked meat under high heat has been found to contain carcinogenic substances that have been linked to cancer.

It is my opinion that eating meat in moderation along with other healthy choices will lead to the right balance of nutrients necessary for our body’s functions. Processed and fried foods are not the best choice. Eating under cooked or raw meats have been found to contain parasites and bacteria. Please ask a health professional if you have any concerns. If you have any questions or comments about this post please fill out the form below and I will get back to you.

Healthy Diet Recipes

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