The focus today is on meats and eggs from a brain health viewpoint. If you are concerned about mental fitness and brain health, I encourage you to read on. I get it. Eating meat is controversial. I’ve previously addressed my own journey with meat in To Eat or Not Eat Meat.
Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety
Drew Ramsey, MD
Your brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It consumes 20% of everything you eat. That food provides the energy and nutrients to support this incredibly complex organ. When your brain is deprived of the nutrients it needs, it will struggle to function. It will also affect your mood, focus and memory.
Sustainably raised meats (beef, pork, lamb and poultry) are rich in brain healthy nutrients:
- Bioavailable (easily absorbed) protein
- A balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids important for reducing inflammation and promoting brain health
- Good levels of B vitamins (B1 – thiamin, B2 – riboflavin, B3 -niacin, B6 – biotin, pantothenic and folic acid), also especially hard-to-get vitamin B12
- Vitamin E and the phytochemical carotenoid because they freely roam and eat natural vegetation
- Iron content is good and more usable by the body than iron from any other food
- Several other essential minerals, such as zinc, copper, selenium, potassium
- Vitamin A levels are very high in liver. Beef or calf liver is known to be one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition available. Historically in many places around the world liver is often suggested as a medicinal food because of its high iron and blood-building nutrients
- Vitamin D
It is difficult to obtain adequate protein on a diet that completely excludes animal products. This can also lead to deficiency in many essential minerals. Zinc, iron and calcium from animal sources are more easily absorbed. Sustainably raised meats are better for our health and better for the environment. Buying organic foods from farmers and farmers helps the organic farming industry know there is a market that supports them.
Meat is not only beef. And not just muscle meat (for example steak and roasts). A variety of foods provides a variety of nutrients. This prevents deficiencies that today are too common.
- Lamb, consumed especially in Middle Eastern countries, is similar to beef in its nutrient makeup and high protein content.
- Pork is a blend of nutrition between beef and chicken.
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, geese
- Chicken contains vitamin A and B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.
- Turkey has a little more zinc, iron, potassium and phosphorus
- Wild game such as deer and boar, game birds like duck and geese
- Our ancestors and traditional tribes especially valued certain high-vitamin animal products like organ meats, butter, fish, eggs and shellfish
Spend the money on pastured eggs – especially if you choose not to eat meat. These eggs come from chickens allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects like would in the wild.
They are the most complete, nutritious and economical form of animal protein available and are valued by traditional cultures throughout the world. Don’t skip the yolk. It is high in vitamin A, has B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin E, calcium, iron, and zinc.
A Mind of Your Own
Kelly Brogan, MD
What to do?
- Eat meat as an occasional and/or celebration food
- Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin – Epicurious
- Eat meat as a condiment in the way of cuisines around the world or blend with plant foods to make meatloaf and/or meatballs
- Eat a wide range of foods from various meat groups on a daily and seasonal basis
- Use herbs and spices used traditional to not only enhance flavor, but for health/medicinal purposes. They also improve nutrient absorption.
Here are some of my favorites
Along with these, the above chili, enchiladas and stir fry are staple recipes I’ve used for years. I usually make one of these on a Sunday and rotate through them. As always, I make a double recipe to freeze half for another day.
Do you have a traditional meat recipe?