Healthy ways to eat non vegetarian foods
Eating meat predominantly is not healthy. It may work for the Eskimos due to their harsh living conditions and having possibly genetically evolved to such eating habits, but for the general population and particularly Indians, it is unhealthy. It leads to high cholesterol, high risk of cancer especially colon, heart diseases, high blood pressure, high uric acid. Indians genetically have narrower blood vessels which could be the reason for their vulnerability for cardiovascular diseases.
Best ways to eat meat: Meat, fish and poultry has its health benefits so it would be wrong to shun them as bad foods. They are good sources of the best proteins, readily available iron, vitamins B12 and D apart from several other vitamins and minerals. Thus it can have good benefits if eaten in moderation, combined with plant foods and cooked the right way. Here below are some tips on how to get to eat meat with lesser risk for health problems.
• Choose the right meats: Fish is the healthiest of all non vegetarian foods. It may be eaten daily. Lean white meat like chicken and turkey rank next. Red meat should be avoided or eaten rarely. Should you want to, then have not more than twice or three times a week.
• What not to choose: Always buy fresh meat. Avoid or restrict processed and canned meats. This includes sausages, canned fish, burgers, salami, ham, etc
• Fat from the meat: All visible fat and skin from meat and poultry should be removed before cooking so that the fat will fall off due to the heat of cooking. On the contrary, the fat of fish is healthy. The fattier the fish, the healthier it is. Fatty fish like sardines can actually be cooked in its own fat.
• Cooking methods: Pan-grill fish and keep basting it with its own fat. Make curries with minimum oil. Steam, bake, or stew. Do not deep fry fish, meat or poultry. This process makes all meats unhealthy. Grilling on direct fire as in barbequing is not a healthy method on a regular basis. Partially cook the meats and then grill or fry only to brown it.
• Combining with other foods: A plate of fish and chips is not a healthy combo. Never forget to eat your vegetables and fruits while eating a non vegetarian meal. The vitamins in the plant foods help the absorption of the minerals like iron in the meats. The antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables reduce the ill effects whatsoever of eating meats. Also, when one eats lots of fresh salad vegetables and fruits along with the meal, one will tend to eat lesser portions of meat.
• Portions: Be it any kind of meat, fish or poultry, 60 to 90 grams per day is a healthy amount for the average population to have, depending on one’s age and calorie needs. In certain medical conditions though, like kidney diseases and high uric acid the quantity may need to be reduced or totally avoided. Other diseases like severe anaemia, tuberculosis, may require you to eat more.
Parvathy R Krishnan
The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/
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