Benefits Of Meat

In today’s society we are a meat eating culture, where we consume some form of meat/poultry with most meals. We are told that too much meat is not good for us, that it is not good for our cholesterol and overall health; however there are many benefits in continuing to eat meat.

Red meat is a major source of b-group vitamins (B12, B1 and niacin), zinc, iron, protein, essential amino acids and long chian omega-3. Iron is important to our health and it helps our body to regenerate red blood cells. Our body absorbs on average 30% of its iron from red meat sources and only 2% from plant based sources. Zinc is vital for healthy skin and an immune system and the B-group vitamins are widely found in red meat and are used to maintain nerve cells and blood formation. Proteins in meats are complete (they contain all the essential amino acids), and these help in the body’s repair and renewal of our muscles and organs. By not consuming red meat you may become protein deficient, anaemic (low iron levels), tired and with low energy levels, constantly hungry, and having poor immunity.

Red meat and poultry can be high in saturated fats (which can raise cholesterol levels), due to the skin on poultry and the fat on certain cuts of meat. Due to the many health benefits of meat it is important to continue to consume meats; however, always opt for lean cuts with little or no fat and remove the skin from the chicken. The cooking method is important also. Healthy and recommended cooking methods include steaming, poaching, grilling, stir-fry and dry roasting.

You should be consuming red meat/poultry 2-3 times per week and for a daily serve of 65-100g (for women and men respectively). The following cuts are the leanest types and should be included in your diet regularly: chicken breast, beef rump steak, pork steak, venison, kangaroo, turkey steak and minced steak. White chicken meat (breast) contains less fat than dark meat (legs and wings) and is a healthier option. Including these in your diet a few times a week will certainly improve weight loss, and help you to avoid heart disease and reduce blood pressure.

Overall, excluding meats from your diet will not benefit you. There are numerous advantages with red meat, and as long as you choose low fat cuts of meat and cook using a healthy method, your body can obtain these important vitamins and minerals.  You will remain strong and healthy and not experience any of the symptoms you may get from not including meat in your diet.



Zinc is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in keeping your body functioning at its best. Some of the major functions involving zinc include: protein synthesis, wound healing, and immune function (which is why it is present in many cold remedy lozenges). It also plays a role in keeping your sense of taste and smell working properly. 
It is recommended that we consume zinc daily as we do not store a great amount of in our body. For males it is recommended that 14mg is consumed per day while only 8mg per day is required for females. Without adequate daily intake you are likely to suffer from symptoms such as skin rash, diarrhea, a decreased appetite and sense of taste, hair loss, and poor growth and development. In order to boost your daily intake of zinc, eat foods like seafood, meat, greens and whole grains.



The Lowdown on Low GI Diets

Written By Michela DiTocco

Glycaemic index or GI is a measure of how rapidly blood-glucose levels increase after eating certain carbohydrate based foods. The majority of foods are classified into 3 groups, low (under 55), medium (55-69) and high (greater than 70). The GI value is determined by various factors including the type of carbohydrates, how has it been processed and the presence of fat or fibre. Ingeneral low GI foods tend to contain more fibre and are less processed in comparison to high GIfoods, however there are always a few exceptions to the rule (i.e.: chocolate is low GI but high in fat and highly processed).

High GI foods release glucose quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. This leads to an increased release of insulin to help drop these glucose levels back down which in turn leads to an increase in fat storage.

Low GI foods in contrast release glucose into the bloodstream steadily over a few hours; this limits the spikes in blood glucose levels therefore requiring less insulin to help balance out the levels. GI diets are recommended for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular 2 disease, certain digestive disorders and weight loss. Low GI carbohydrates help to improve diabetes control, reduce the risk of heart disease, cholesterol, help you feel fuller for
longer (controlling hunger) and prolong your exercise duration. A benefit of high GI foods is to
rapidly refuel carbohydrate stores after exercise or a sporting event.

Most low GI diets recommend that you consume large quantities of fibre-rich vegetables and legumes, fresh fruit, wholegrain breads/cereals with low GI values and limit saturated fat intake.

GI diets also include food combining, where lean proteins are consumed to further lower the GI value of the meal. Low GI diets are a way to help your body to work at its optimal level via nutrition and help you to lose/maintain weight and teach you principles to eat better and feel
good about yourself. You can obtain a list of GI foods and their values in many nutrition books or at the following website www.glycemicindex.com. These values can help you to determine appropriate meals with low GI values.
So next time you’re out shopping, think about what you’re buying and if it’s a low GI food choice and become more informed about what you’re eating.



Drink More Water

Written By John McLachlan
From back pain, fatigue, arthritis and headaches to indigestion, high blood pressure, colitis and constipation, drinking more water can relieve many ailments and prevent the need for medication. Drink more water and you will have more energy and think more clearly. Use water in preference to any other drink especially cordial, soft drinks, coffee, tea and alcohol.
Most people need a minimum of two litres of water daily. Studies show many people mistake thirst for hunger, so if you think that you have eaten substantially, drink some water first, and see if the feeling of hunger subsides.
Natural spring water is best to drink, but storage in plastic (especially when exposed to heat) is not healthy. If you only have tap water, use a filter to remove chlorine and other health hazards, and make sure you change filters as recommended. If you must drink alcohol, have a glass of good red wine two or three times a week. Making sure you avoid cask wines and binge drinking.
Fresh vegetable juices are good, but do not substitute them for whole, fresh vegetables. Enjoy a little diluted fresh fruit juice occasionally, but avoid bottled juices and poppers that are loaded with sugars. It is more nutritious to eat the whole fruit and drink water, so do that as often as possible.




This mineral has an essential role in helping to keep your body energised. Iron is involved in the transport of oxygen in the blood, helping to deliver the oxygen required for your muscles to function efficiently. It also has an important role in keeping your immune system healthy. Low levels of iron within the body may lead to fatigue, tiredness, decreased immune function and small, pale red blood cells.

Females are most risk of having low iron levels, particularly those who are menstruating, pregnant or involved in heavy activity, as iron can be lost through blood loss and sweating. The recommended RDI of iron is 8mg per day for men, 18mg per day for women. This can be obtained from high iron sources such as meat, seafood, spinach, broccoli and peas.

When eaten in combination with foods that contain vitamin C, iron absorption is increased.
If you suspect you are low in iron, see your doctor before undertaking any supplementation, as consuming too much iron can be harmful.



Is Smoking Holding You Back?

It’s that time of year again: the time to assess the past year and look to the future. If you are reading this newsletter, improving or maintaining your fitness is likely to be high on your list of resolutions for 2010. But are vices like smoking holding you back? Smoking can reduce your fitness indirectly through smoking related illnesses or more directly by limiting the amount of oxygen available to the body.

When we breathe air into our lungs oxygen is transported in the blood by attaching to the haemoglobin within red blood cells.

Haemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells and its primary role is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. But when carbon monoxide is present in the lungs it is more likely to attach to the haemoglobin, decreasing the amount of oxygen red blood cells are able to carry. This in turn increases your respiratory rate in order to deliver enough oxygen to cells, and it has a significant effect on the heart and other working muscles where there is a high demand for oxygen.

Cigarette smoke also causes air passages to narrow. Tar coats the lungs reducing elasticity of the air sacs where oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream. Tar and other chemicals also affect the cleansing mechanism of the lungs by paralysing the cilia (these are tiny hair-like structures that line the airways that clean out dust and dirt). Damage to the cilia means mucus and toxic substances accumulate resulting in congestion of the lungs.

The decrease in the carrying capacity of haemoglobin and narrowing of air passages result in reduced lung capacity and restrict the amount of oxygen to be transferred into our lungs, having a very negative effect on fitness performance.

However, it is never too late to quit, getting more out of your training and life! By quitting you will feel the benefits straight away as your body begins to repair itself. The following benefits are likely to be noticed:

  • After 24 hours the level of carbon monoxide in your blood stream will dramatically drop and more oxygen will be present;
  • Within a month your blood pressure returns to its normal level;
  • Within 2 months your lungs will no longer be producing extra phlegm causing reduced congestion and lung irritation.
  • Not only will stopping smoking have major health benefits but it can help you achieve a higher fitness level and performance.

For more information on health benefits and quitting please contact your GP or the QUIT website at www.quit.org.au.