Divine red meat | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 16, 2018

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Divine red meat

It's among the most divisive of food in the history of nutrition, although people have been eating it throughout history, many believe it to be harmful. Mammalian muscle meat including beef, lamb and mutton and veal are classified as red. Red meat does have benefits such as being a great source of protein, iron and zinc, but medical professionals caution consumers to limit red meat in their diets due to the saturated fat content. That said, you can also find lean red meat options.

Benefits of red meat

Red meat is a rich source of protein, saturated fat, iron, zinc and vitamin B. Iron is needed to help red blood cells transport oxygen. Iron deficiencies are more likely to occur in children, elderly people and pregnant women.


Protein is considered one of the building blocks of life as it is required to maintain all of the processes necessary in keeping you healthy, and red meat is a great source of that protein.

Essential Amino Acids

Protein also contains amino acids that your body needs to function. There are nine amino acids that your body can't make itself. Amino acids are the building blocks for your body's tissues like muscles, skin and bones, and red meat contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs in one convenient package.


Red meat is rich in several important nutrients. Vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin- B-6 and vitamin B-12 are all found in red meat. Vitamin B helps keep up your energy, contributes to proper growth, aids in digesting iron and helps with chemical reactions in the body. Meat is also a good source of essential minerals like selenium, zinc and iron.

Disadvantages of red meat

Cholesterol and saturated fat

Meat contains cholesterol and saturated fat, making it unwise to consume large amounts daily. All animal-based proteins contain unhealthy trans fats, which prompt your liver to make more cholesterol than your body needs. An average 3-ounce serving of prime rib contains about 14g of fat, including almost 6g of saturated fat and 75mg of cholesterol.

The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 11g to 13g of saturated fat per day. You shouldn't have more than 300mg of cholesterol per day.



Salt-cured and processed meat often contains high quantities of sodium, which is unhealthy. Too much sodium in the body can lead to a stroke, heart disease and kidney problems. That's why it's best to avoid products like bacon, cold cuts, salami, sausage, jerky and ham; all of which are very high in sodium. Meat not treated with salt, like fresh beef, have lower amounts of sodium. When picking a certain meat for your diet, avoid cured and processed meats.


Health impact of red meat

Consumption of red meat has been linked with increased incidence of heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. Red meat may increase the risk of Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, hormone imbalance, and memory problems. 

Avoiding red meat completely is not necessary. Beef does, after all, offer many benefits.

Red meat should be eaten in moderation and certain cuts are also safer choices than others. For instance, people should consume leaner beef, like flank steak. It is best for the meat to be unprocessed as much as possible as well. The less processed the beef is, the safer it is to consume.


Red meat and food hygiene

Many types of bacteria can grow on animal products, so it's important to safely handle and store all types of meat. However, the different rules for handling different types of meat can be confusing. It may be perfectly safe to eat some meat a week after it was prepared or frozen. Other types should be thrown away after only a few days. Safety issues are associated with everything. A healthy kitchen depends on your knowledge of safe cooking and storage practices.


Selecting meat

Follow these specific guidelines when selecting certain meat:

                Avoid any red meat that's dark brown or discoloured, has a strong odour, or feels tough or slimy.

                Avoid any meat that's in damaged, leaking, or torn packages, as its likely been exposed to the air and harmful bacteria.

Handling meat

Wash your hands frequently when preparing any type of meat. Bacteria can quickly spread between your hands and the meat. Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling meat. Keep vegetables and other ingredients away from meat, especially if you aren't cooking them together in the same dish.

Try to use separate cutting boards, clean all cooking utensils after they touch raw meat, and use different utensils to serve food after you've prepared it.

Storing meat

Uncured, raw meat generally lasts safely for around three days in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep uncooked meat longer, freezing it is your best bet. Seal the meat in an airtight package before freezing. Then, it can usually be frozen for at least several months.

Safe freezing and refrigeration time also depends on the storage temperature. Keep your freezer as close to 0° F (-17.8° C) as possible. This helps retain nutrients and keep food fresh.

Cooking temperature and food safety

Cooking temperature affects both the taste and safety of food. Raw red meat can carry dangerous bacteria so it is important that red meat is cooked properly. Raw red meat should not be reheated more than once to prevent food poisoning. When cooking red meat, heat it all the way through to ensure bacteria inside the meat is killed.


Lahori Karahi Gosht

Lahori Karahi Gosht is one of most popular and well- known Pakistani food recipes, and practically no festive Asian menu is complete without it being served. This dish is made by stir-frying small cubes of lamb or mutton with tomatoes, green chillies, ginger and garlic in a karahi (a wok like pan), which lends its name to the dish. It is a very simple and lip-smacking dish for anyone who is partial to the occasional spicy treat.


1 kg lamb meat from Bengal Meat, cut into small pieces

2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, 4 tomatoes

4 medium onions, sliced

200g yoghurt, 2 tbsp butter

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp crushed red chilli, 4 green chillies

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp crushed coriander

½ tsp garam masala powder

Fresh coriander, for garnish

1 inch ginger (cut into Julienne strips)

Salt to taste


Take a deep cooking pan and add Bengal Meat's lamb meat in small pieces, sliced onion, sliced tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, red chilli powder, crushed red chilli, turmeric powder, salt and water. Cover and cook until meat is tender. Shift cooked mutton to a wok, add butter and yoghurt. Mix well, and then put on high flame. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Now add crushed coriander, garam masala powder and half quantity of green coriander, green chillies and ginger. Stir-fry until butter floats to the top. Garnish with remaining green coriander, green chillies and ginger. Serve in a wok with tandoori roti and raita.


Food prepared by Salina Parvin

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