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Reasons to reduce, stop eating meat

Ogechukwu Agwu

Meat is a rich source of protein, which contains a variety of healthy vitamins. It is a natural source of vitamins D, B3, B6, zinc, iron and other important minerals. Also Vitamin B12 can be naturally found in meat.

Meat is an important constituent of a balanced diet. The body needs meat, just as fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grains and fruits to be nourished.  Having meat in your diet is essential for building healthy and muscular body. Depriving your body meat can lead to protein difficiency.

Meat helps to boost the immune system. The combination of proteins, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and other significant compounds in meat works to keep the immune system protected. They contain amino acids, which are known to improve the neurotransmitter efficiency in the brain. Amino acids are known for the functions of the brain, especially cognition, reasoning, memory and emotion commands.

Meat is considered as one of the most important substances  required to keeping the body working properly because it is one of the easily absorbed compounds. Due to its high fat and protein content, meat helps to keep the blood sugar stable.  Having a stable blood sugar level generally translates to protecting your body from diseases, like type 2 diabetes.

Meat tastes good. It is  easy to prepare. It can be cooked, fried, dried, barbecued or grilled.

Despite these benefits, experts warn that excess intake of meat can pose a threat to the health. Red meat are high in saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol and high levels of LDL cholesterol, thereby, increasing the risk of heart disease. Indeed, intake of red meat has been linked to increased  death from heart disease and cancer.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation declared meat as carcinogenic. This   means that intake of meat increases the risk cancer, such as colon or rectum cancer by 18 per cent.

 A recent study revealed that people who eat red meat and processed meat over a 10 years period are likely to die sooner than those who eat smaller amounts.

Meat from chickens, cows and other animals promotes cancer in many forms. Large studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 per cent less likely to develop cancer, compared to meat eaters.

In 2014, a study found out that one serving a day of red meat was associated with a 22 per cent higher risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and that the same red meat consumption with a 13 per cent  higher risk of breast cancer overall.

According to them, the connection between meat consumption and increased cancer is the absence of fibre. Also, meat contains animals protein saturated fats and in some cases carcinogenic compounds, such as heterocylic amines (HCA) and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are formed during the processing or cooking. Meat also contains hormones, which increases cancer risk.

Protein products contain cholesterol and saturated fats. In America, more people are likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and various forms of cancer, particularly, breast, colon and prostrate cancer.

Decades of scientific studies have linked dietary cholesterol to cardiovascular diseases.

According to the study published by the American Diabetes Association, people who eat high amounts of animal protein are more likely to develop diabetes.

Aside from the increased risk of cancer and heart disease, meat eaters find it hard to maintain a healthy body weight. They are more likely to be obese than vegetarians. On the average, vegans are more lighter than adult meat eaters. The diet of vegetarians are also associated with higher metabolic rates, around 16 per cent faster for vegans when compared with meat eaters.

Another reason you should stay away from meat is that you are at a risk of contracting food-borne diseases. According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 70 per cent of food poisoning is caused by contaminated animal flesh. In the U.S, diseases, such as E.coli, salmonella, and campylobacter accounts for 5, 000 deaths daily in the United States alone.

Animal products are at a higher risk of being tainted with feacal contamination during slaughter and processing, especially in chicken. This poses a great problem. About 77 per cent of raw chicken can make customers sick.

Experts argue that removing meat in your diet can greatly reduce your chances of suffering food poison.

Meat is not for men, contrary to popular opinion. Cases of erectile dysfunction are actually physical as opposed to psychological. This simply means most diseases, like diabetes obesity, high cholesterol etc. that meat eating cause could also contribute to one’s impotency.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests in a study that men who couple regular exercise with a diet rich in flavoniods, which are found in fruit like strawberries, blueberries and apples, may reduce their risk of developing erectile dysfunction by 20 per cent. Preventing artery blockage as well as multiple other conditions that can cause impotence, according to nutritionists, is to eat a diet high in fibre, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

While it may seem like these reasons are overwhelmingly enough to regard meat as the enemy, experts say  you should take it with caution, as the body still needs the nutrients that meat contains.

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