Is Red Meat Good For You?

Many observational studies have confirmed that regular consumption of meat may elevate the risks of cardiovascular diseases. This is mainly because of their high-saturated fat content. Deep-fired lean red meat such as pork, lamb and beef as well as fish and chicken contain saturated fat which raises LDL cholesterol.

Some research studies have confirmed a link between meat and cancer due certain cooking and processing methods. Types of red meat preparation methods including deep-frying, grilling and broiling in high temperatures are responsible for forming cancer causing elements like HCAs or Heterocyclic Amines. The best way to cook meat is to cook it in a microwave oven or following various stewing techniques to cut HCA release.

A US-based National Cancer Institute, in one of its studies, has revealed that people who preferred well-cooked red meats like beef are more exposed to cancer causing elements than people who ate lightly cooked or medium cooked red meat. This fact does not apply to red meat alone, but also for white meats such as chicken and fish. Cooking them in high temperatures releases Heterocyclic Amines. [357]

Roast Red Meat
Credit: US Department of Energy Office of Administration "Carvery" Cafeteria (Public Domain Image)

Ways to Cook Red Meat

1. To avoid any formation of heterocyclic amines, prefer stewing some meat dishes in low temperature. But, remember to cook them sufficiently to avoid any food poisoning.

2. According to some studies, cooking meat in a microwave oven has shown to have lower levels of cancer-causing elements, particularly HCAs. So the best way to cook red meat is to microwave it. This can surely decrease HCA by 90 percent.

3. You can also try bean curd (tofu), beans and dry peas. They are great alternatives to meat and have low saturated fat and cholesterol content. Dry peas and beans also contain a high amount of fiber.

4. Please avoid preparing any gravy from meat drippings as these have more amounts of HCAs than any other meat part.

If you are concerned about your health, you can cut the exposure to Heterocyclic Amines by changing your cooking methods. Always pre-cook meat in microwave ovens before broiling and frying to make sure you are not at risk to those cancer-causing elements.[357]