Meat Beef Pork Lamb and Poultry

Meat is exceptionally rich in iron, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. Moreover, the micronu-trients in meat tend to be highly bioavailable. About 20% of the iron in meat is absorbed, compared to only 2-5% from most plant foods.23 In the average US diet, meat provides 70-75% of the total dietary zinc requirement and almost all of the vitamin B12 requirement. At the same time, meat is the major source of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet of the industrialized countries. A high meat intake may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. A large study in the USA found that women who eat meat (beef, pork, or lamb) at least once a day are twice as likely to develop colon cancer as those with a lower meat intake.24 Women who regularly eat chicken or fish rather than red meat cut their risk by about 50%. Moderation when eating meat is the key: eating too much is harmful, but occasional consumption of meat can provide important nutrients without adding too much fat to the diet. For the average adult, a small serving of beef sirloin (80-100 g) will provide the full daily vitamin B12 requirement, half the daily protein and zinc requirements, and one-third of the daily iron, niacin, and riboflavin requirements.

Eggs

Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious foods. The protein in eggs contains a perfect balance of all the essential amino acids: one large egg contains about 8g of protein, or about one-sixth of the daily protein requirement. Eggs are also rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and D, and are an excellent source of sulfur and iron. The egg white contains most of the protein; the yolk contains almost all the vitamins and minerals. The yolk is one of the richest natural sources of choline and lecithin but it also contains about 250 mg of cholesterol. People with high blood cholesterol, who need to limit their cholesterol consumption, should eat eggs only rarely. However, for most people with normal blood cholesterol, eating eggs regularly will provide important nutrients and have little or no effect on blood cholesterol.25 Although it is sometimes claimed that darker yellow yolks contain more nutrients than pale ones, the yolk color depends mainly on the content of xantho-phylls (natural yellow pigments in chicken feed).

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