Meat is an excellent source of many important nutrients. But you have to know how to make your meat as healthy as possible, in order to obtain the best out of it.
Meat is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals and is a part of the most delicious meals present out there. You can stay healthy and fit by consuming a good amount of meat in your diet.
But this is not entirely true; just consuming meat is not enough. You have to make sure that the meat you consume is in its healthiest form possible. There are a few ways to make this possible. We will discuss these techniques in detail in this article.
How To Maximize Meat Benefits?
Meat can prove to be very healthy for you if you consume it within a certain limit and in moderation. Excess meat consumption can be harmful to your digestive system and other body parts.
You must also understand that every meat is different. They are not created equally.
You can maximize the health benefits of meat by making some simple choices or changes. These choices are mentioned below:-
Know About What You Are Eating
It is beneficial for you to gain as much knowledge as possible on your meat. You can start by gathering information on where the meat is coming from, what animal it is from, how these animals are being raised, and so on.
Such information can help you have a good feeling about what you are consuming. It is essential that you feel good about what you are putting in your body.
You should, however, avoid consuming meat that contains preservatives. These preservatives can be a harmful addition to your meat. Such preservatives can harm your body severely. For example, Sodium nitrate is added to some types of meat. But it is said to cause stomach cancer. Artificially produced citric acid can cause asthma and lead to allergic reactions.
Try Mixing Up Another Type Of Meats
You can mix different types of meats in your diet. Different types of meats may have a varied effect on your body. Red meat is a famous addition to most healthy diets. But overeating red meat could be bad for your health.
It can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. You need to balance out the consumption of red meat to mix leaner forms of meat that have low calories and proteins, such as chicken, fish, and pork, along with red meat.
Consider Your Diet As A Whole
You must look at your diet as a whole instead of focusing on the individual aspects of your diet. You will need to create a balance with meat consumption.
Meat is an essential part of your diet, but it should not be the only focal point in your diet. Try to add fruits and veggies also to your diet along with meat. This will make your meal wholesome.
Be Careful With Your Portions
Some people might not be aware of the ideal portion of meat that they should consume generally. Some people might even forget where to draw the line regarding meat consumption. You should aim for concise portions of meat. This will make you enjoy your favorite meat dishes without creating an imbalance. You can learn more about healthy meat portions here.
Be Efficient With Your Cooking Methods
You should be very particular about the methods you are using to prepare and cook your meat.
If you are using high-quality meat, it would be ideal for letting its flavor takeover. It is unnecessary to cover your meat or dish with oil or butter. By doing so, you are reducing the health benefits of meat.
Adding special sauces high in calories can also diminish the health benefits of meat. Instead of using such ingredients, you can use light marinades or use cooking methods that keep the vitamins and minerals intact.
Healthiest Ways To Cook Meat
Meat is a perfect source of protein, and some meats are rich in special nutrients like vitamin B6 and B12, iron, selenium, and zinc. The health quotient of your meat will depend upon the methods you use to cook the meat.
You must maintain a perfect balance of taste and nutrients in your meat dish. Some tips for cooking meat more healthily are given hereunder:-
Carefully Heat The Meat
If you are cooking meat at high temperatures, then the protein in the meat transforms. High-temperature cooking methods such as direct cooking, grilling, frying, pan-frying, and so on create HCAs and PCAs.
Due to high temperature, the proteins in animal meat turn into heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PCAs)s.
These compounds may enhance the risk of cancer. However, this research has only been conducted on animals yet, and soon they will begin human trials.
You can prevent such harmful compounds from forming by cooking your meat over indirect heat or cooking them at lower temperatures.
Try To Cook Leaner Cuts Of Meat
You can prevent the PCAs from forming by ensuring that the meat is not exposed to smoke. PCAs can form and replace the protein in your meat if exposed to smoke.
The smoke usually builds up when you use a grill for cooking your meat. While grilling, the fat from the meat can fall onto the flames and get burnt to create black smoke.
The fat can fall on the flames if you cook thicker meat cuts. A quick solution to this issue is to cook leaner meat cuts on a grill.
Another thing that you can do to prevent the smoke is to shift the grill grate to a higher level. This will make sure that the meat is far away from the flames.
Don’t Consume Well-Done Meat
People who are meat enthusiasts will always advise you not to eat well-done or made meat because you will not enjoy the texture and taste of the meat. On top of this, not eating well-done meat also has some health benefits.
According to research studies, well-done meat poses more cancer risk to your body; instead, you should go for medium cooked or raw meat.
Try To Go For Alternate Cooking Methods
There are plenty of cooking methods other than grilling and frying, such as braising and air frying. These techniques involve cooking the meat at lower temperatures, due to which you avoid the formation of HCAs and PCAs. If you decide to braise your pork or beef, the meat is cooked at around 300°F temperature.
There are special devices for cooking the meat slowly and at lower temperatures, such as slow cookers or dutch ovens. Air frying is also a healthier alternative for cooking meat instead of deep-frying.
Air-fried meat has very little oil and fats in comparison to deep-fried meat. Chicken wings and other meat items can be nice and crisp without cooking them at high temperatures and in excess oil.
You Can Go For A Reverse Sear
Usually, meat is cooked or seared in a hot skillet. After searing in a skillet, it is cooked in an oven for the remaining duration. Larger meat portions such as roasts and larger meat cuts are cooked in a skillet. Reverse searing is the process that starts from the oven, and then the meat is cooked in the skillet.
In reverse searing, while the meat is cooking in the oven, it will be cooked at low-temperature settings. You should keep the meat in the oven until it reaches a temperature of 10-15° F less than its final temperature.
After the oven, you can give your meat a fast and quick sear on the stove or the skillet. The finished meat will still have a crust on the outside but will be soft and tender from the inside. There will be very few PCAs as the meat was cooked at a high temperature for a brief period.
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Use Herbs And Spices
You can make your meat healthier by adding natural herbs and spices to your dish. The meat is marinated in antioxidants like rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper, and other rich spices that can reduce the level of HCAs in the meat.
The spices mentioned above will add a lot of flavor to your meat dishes. There is also vast potential for such herbs and spices to keep the harmful compounds at a reduced level.
Choose Meat From Grass-Fed Animals
If you are looking to buy beef meat, you should consider purchasing the meat of a grass-fed animal. You should go for such meat because it is higher in omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamin A and vitamin E. Meat from such animals is denser and more nutritious.
You should always purchase meat from sources you trust or buy from branded sources. If this kind of meat is expensive for you, you can try and get it from a few online stores.
Different Cooking Styles Of Meat To Keep It Healthy
You need to choose your meat cooking style to maintain the health quotient. You should go for cooking methods that minimize the loss of nutrients and the lowest possible amount of harmful compounds are formed in the meat. Some of the best cooking methods for meat are:-
Baking And Roasting The Meat
Both of these cooking methods are similar to each other. In these methods, the meat is usually cooked using dry heat. Meat cooked from dry heat differs from meat cooked with moist heat. There is a clear difference in taste, texture, and nutritional quotient. In a moist cooking method, meat is cooked in water on any other liquid.
Roasting the meat usually refers to cooking the meat in a large dish. You can also use a roasting pan for cooking the meat. This pan also has a special rack to place the meat above the juices that might drip down while cooking. You are more likely to bake chicken or poultry instead of red meat.
Both baking and roasting have a similar temperature range between 300-425°F, whereas the cooking time for the meat usually lies between 30 minutes to an hour. The cooking time is also dependent upon the type and the cut of meat you are using.
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Broiling And Grilling
Both of these cooking methods are similar to each other. These are considered high-temperature cooking methods as they use dry heat for cooking the meat.
If you are looking for healthier meat cooking methods, you should avoid them and other high-temperature cooking styles. When you grill the meat, you place a heat source directly under the meat. Grilling usually takes place on an open grill or a barbecue.
You can find the broiler feature in your regular ovens. The temperature range for grilling ranges from 375-450° F. Broiling is opposite to grilling. In this method, the heat source is placed above the meat.
Broiling occurs at a higher temperature than grilling as the temperature range is 500-550°F. Cooking the meat at such a higher temperature can result in the formation of PAHs, which can also be vital in developing breast cancer in individuals. According to some recent research studies, PAHs are also responsible for pancreatic cancer in some people.
Simmering And Stewing
Cooking methods like simmering, stewing, and poaching are all moist heat cooking methods. The cooking time may be longer for these methods. The temperature range for stewing meat is 160-180°F. The poaching of meat is usually done at a temperature range of 140-180°F.
If you cook meat in liquids for a longer time, it causes the proteins in the meat to toughen. According to research, cooking a moist heat at a low temperature can minimize the formation of AGEs present in the meat. You can make your meat dishes healthier by using these methods and using more nutritious alternatives to standard cooking oil. Sunflower oil and lard oil are good alternatives to vegetable cooking oil.
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Meat is an excellent choice for iron, protein, and other nutrients. However, meat is not a constant part of people’s diet. But for the people who want to inculcate meat in their diets, we have explained some ways in the article above to cook your meat as healthy as possible.
Apart from all the cooking methods, we have also given an insight into different cooking staples of meat and meat dishes. We hope you found this information useful and practical. If you liked the content, please do not forget to share it on your social media profiles.
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