When eating according to nutrition recommendations, you can enjoy your meat with a good conscience, especially when you choose domestic meat.
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Balanced nutrition is not about good foods or bad foods, it is about the big picture. When following the nutrition recommendations, meat is part of a healthy diet.
Healthy diet is based on balance and everyday choices
- Choices according to the plate model
- Moderation is key
- Versatile foods, plant or animal based, are recommended
Meat is rich on well-absorbable nutrients
Minerals and vitamins
- Meat is rich in iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, vitamin A as well as B vitamins (B1, B2, B3,B6 and B12).
- The iron in meat is more readily absorbed by the body than plant-based iron.
- Vitamin B12 is essential for functioning of the brain and nervous system. It can only be obtained from animal products.
- Meat is high in protein, it contains 15–20% protein.
- Meat protein contains all the essential amino acids and they are always in a well-absorbable form.
- Essential amino acids must come from food, as the body cannot produce them.
- A sufficient protein intake must be ensured daily. Average need is 1 g protein/kg body weigh.
- The amount of fat in meat varies between 2–25%.
- There are two types of fat: saturated (“unhealthy”) and unsaturated (“healthy”).
- Most of the fat in poultry and pork is unsaturated, in beef it is almost half.
In a nutshell:
- Meat is the best protein source in our diet, not only in terms of quantity but also quality.
- Meat contains plenty of saturated fat, but is also a good source of healthy, unsaturated fat.
- Meat is rich on various B-vitamins and minerals, like iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium.
- Nutrition recommendations suggest for up to 500 g of red meat per week, meaning up to three main meals per week.
- Poultry is suggested by the nutrition recommendations – its consumption is also growing the fastest.
"Meat is not an empty-energy food. It increases the average intake of essential vitamins, minerals and necessary protein, but also of energy, fats and salt. If rest of the diet is in balance, eating red meat is not problematic for health, and the intake of saturated fats and salt stays at a recommended level."
Soile Käkönen, Health and nutrition manager, M.Sc. (Clinical nutrition), registered dietitian HKScan.
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