Travis Willaby author of this 2017-2018 MLHS senior student editorial
Can Eating Meat Every Day Keep the Doctor Away?
How would you like to eliminate possible skin disease, build and repair body tissue, strengthen your immune system, and have long-term energy? This is all possible with the consumption of meats. Seafood, poultry, and red meat provide important proteins, vitamins, and nutrients to help the human body function properly, which is why eating meats is an important part of a diet.
Although other foods provide iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, vegetarian diets cannot provide the large amount of protein found in meat that is essential for human growth. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that women get 46 grams of protein per day and men get 56; eating a vegetarian diet may make this hard to achieve. While red meat and poultry provide protein, vitamins A,B,D, and several minerals, seafood also provides omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in metabolism in the body. Eating a vegetarian diet, with no meat whatsoever, can lead to deficiencies in the body, such as vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and calcium.
While various diet plans suggest eliminating a certain food group, My Plate has created guidelines for a healthy diet that includes choosing the healthiest options out of each food group. According to My Pyramid, red meat should be eaten sparingly, but seafood and poultry should be consumed 0-2 times per day. The new My Plate indicates that fruits and vegetables should make up half of a meal, with the other half made up of grains and protein, and, of course, dairy in moderation.
Although a vegan diet is usually cheaper than a diet that includes meat, people can choose the type of meat that fits into their budget. Seafood provides a very healthy, but sometimes costly, meal with salmon fillets over $8.00 per pound. With high nutritional content in seafood, the cost is for healthy, antibiotic, and hormone-free food without the environmental footprint of farm-raised beef. Grass raised beef costs $3.70 per pound, with pork chops around $3.99 per pound. Both of these options provide similar nutrition to salmon or seafood without the higher cost.
Depending on personal preference, overall taste, or cost, it is up to you if seafood, red meat, or poultry should be most prevalent in your diet. By providing similar nutrition and health benefits, any consumption of these meats will be beneficial. Following My Plate recommendations on the amount of meat to consume per meal will lead to a healthy diet and sufficient nutrition.