Like many of us, you’re probably overwhelmed with information regarding sources of animal protein. Should you stay away from fish because it contains mercury? Can you eat red meat every day? Let’s set things straight and sort out the good from the bad when it comes to meats, poultry, fish and seafood!
It is true that eating too much red meat can be potentially harmful to your health? Ideally, you should limit your consumption of beef, veal, lamb, pork, rabbit, horse, giblets, duck and goose, to 3-ounce portions three times a week. When making your red meat choices for those 3 meals or less per week, opt for meats that contain less fat:
· Choose cuts of lean beef, such as; eye of round, inside round, top sirloin and sirloin tip, tenderloin, flank, cross rib and round rib. Lean or extra lean ground beef is also a wise choice. When it comes to veal, you can’t go wrong! This meat contains only 7.5% fat, no matter what the cut.
· Notice to the hunting enthusiast: wild game such as bison, caribou and wild boar are good lean meat choices that will add a different flavor to your meals.
· Little known and seldom used meats such as horse and rabbit are also great alternatives because of their low saturated fat content.
By processed we mean meats that have been smoked, dried, salted or those containing preservatives that are found in ham, bacon, salami and sausages. The consumption of these meats should be kept to a minimum as they are high in fat and salt and contain sodium nitrate which is a known carcinogen.
Chicken and turkey, without the skin of course, are excellent sources of protein and they are also low in saturated fat. On the other hand, goose and duck are considered red meats and should be consumed in moderation.
We should be consuming a minimum of 5 ounces of cooked fish every week, this is to say two 2.5 ounce servings. You should be looking at herring, salmon, mackerel, char, sardines and trout as they supply good doses of Omega-3 fatty acids which will keep your heart healthy and happy. However, be careful not to eat more than 150g (5 oz., or two meals) of certain kinds of fish, such as fresh or frozen tuna, shark or swordfish, as they may contain significant quantities of mercury in their bodies. Please note that you need not limit your intake of canned tuna as this variety contains lower levels of mercury.
All mollusks and crustaceans are rich in protein, low in fat, and are easily integrated into a variety of recipes: pizza, oven baked dishes, pasta dishes, salads, etc. You would do well by adding them to your diet!
By Vanessa Martin