Canadian Meat: A Powerhouse of High Quality Nutrition
Whether enjoyed inside or outside the home, Canada’s 35 million citizens consume some 100 million meals each and every day of the year. Regardless of whether the occasion is breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, meat has been a favoured source of high quality protein, vitamins, minerals and energy throughout human history.
Today, most Canadians consume an abundance of foods, but many do not obtain the nutrients they require for good health. Overfed but undernourished is a rapidly expanding paradox that is of serious concern to dieticians, health care professionals and policy-makers across the country.
Following a well-balanced diet is one of the most important investments Canadians can undertake to achieve and maintain overall health. Nutrient rich foods not only offer high levels of such vital life-supporting components as protein, vitamins and minerals, these nutrients are accompanied by lower concentrations of calories. Research has demonstrated the benefits of eating adequate amounts of lean protein include: stabilizing blood sugar; increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness after eating); and, maintaining muscle mass, even if losing body weight.
The Health Canada publication “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” encourages Canadians to enjoy 1 to 3 servings of meat and alternatives every day. A compact source of good nutrition, meat contains numerous wholesome and essential nutrients that are critical for good health and life. These include: protein, phosphorus, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, pantothenate/vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, thiamin, (vitamin D), niacin and riboflavin.
As the basic building block for human bodies, protein is an important part of every cell. Foods of animal origin offer concentrated sources of high-quality protein. B vitamins energize the body and are vital for the health and functioning of the nervous system. Choosing a variety of meats provides a complete package of B vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12 (unlike plants or fungi, many foods of animal origin are a source of vitamin B12). Zinc is an essential mineral for growth, repairing body cells and energy production. The human body absorbs zinc better from animal than from plant sources. Iron, an essential nutrient found in every cell of a human body, helps build red blood cells and carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Although plant sources contain iron, the human body has a higher absorption rate of animal origin iron.
Bite for bite, meat is a nutrient rich food that offers a powerfully wholesome, nutritious and delicious choice for Canadian families.