What is Meat?
In this context, meat means the parts of an animal that humans eat. It includes the flesh, fat, muscles, and offal (liver, kidney, tongue, etc.) Meat is often described as being red or white. Generally, red meats are those that are red before cooking, such as beef, lamb and venison. While pork meat is lighter in colour, it too is classified as a red meat. White meat contains less myoglobin (an iron-rich protein that gives meat its red colour) than red meat, and it is generally used to describe poultry.
In most countries, white meat is cheaper and therefore more commonly consumed. Chicken is probably the most eaten form of meat on the planet. They are versatile, low in fat, and easy to breed.
There are many different ways of cooking chicken, you can roast, steam, grill, fry, and so on. Chicken breast is widely considered one of the healthiest meats you can consume. Chicken is also an excellent source of protein.
Turkey is another popular white meat. The birds are large, which means that there is plenty to eat, and it contains fewer calories than chicken and plenty of lean protein. Turkey meat is slightly drier than chicken’s, which makes it less popular, but when cooked properly, it is delicious.
Duck meat is much darker than that of chickens or turkey, but it is still a white meat. Duck is very popular in Chinese cuisine, but it is also found in many other cuisines and there are several ways of preparing it. Duck is an excellent source of nutrients including protein, iron, selenium and phosphorus. The only drawback is that it is a very fatty bird.
Goose is probably the least eaten form of white meat, but when you can find it, it is a true treat. The meat itself is an excellent source of protein, but the skin is very fatty. Goose is also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium.
Red meat is consumed all over the world, very often in processed form. Here we will look at the various forms of unprocessed red meat.
Beef is easily one of the most commonly consumed red meat. There are many different cuts and ways of using it. For example, there are various types of steak, the meat can be ground into hamburgers, it can be used for stews, and so on. Veal is another form of beef, the meat of the calves. In moderation, beef is very healthy and one of the best sources of iron, vitamin B12 and zinc.
Right up there with beef in popularity is pork. Even though pork appears to be very light in colour and becomes lighter when cooked, it is still counted as red meat. Pork is cheap and high in protein, which makes it very widespread. The exact nutrients will vary by the cut. In general, tenderloin is the healthiest cut, followed by chops and spareribs. As a general rule, pork in moderation can be healthy, but too much of high fat pork could lead to health problems.
A lean cut of lamb is thought of as one of the healthiest forms of red meat that you can eat, as it is an important source of essential amino acids and high quality protein. Mutton is very similar; it is just the meat of an adult sheep. One of the reasons why lamb is healthy is that they are usually reared outside and fed a natural, healthy diet of grass.
Rabbit is a red meat rich in protein and nutrients. It is a game meat but rabbits are also bred domestically for their meat. Rabbit can be cooked in many ways, but it is most often used to make stews that are low in calories. Rabbit is actually better for you than beef or pork due to its low fat and high mineral and protein content.
Venison, the meat from deer, is very healthy as it is lean. However, it is a very expensive meat, so it is not consumed very often. A great thing about venison is that it is low in fat but high in flavour. Another advantage is that it is packed with protein.
Perhaps the least consumed form of red meat, certainly in the west, is goat meat. It contains less fat than beef and it can be served in roasts, stews, grilled and in curries. Furthermore, goat has fewer calories than pork and beef, but just as much protein, making it an excellent choice if you can get it.