Cook meat carefully for best benefits

Saturday May 12 2018

 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

Meat is loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and minerals such as selenium, says Mark Alex Kakooza, a nutritionist at Homart Nutrition Centre. Red meat contains high iron levels which teenage girls and women need in their child bearing years.

It also contains Vitamin B12 which is needed in the formation of DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy and zinc for a healthy immune system. Red meat contains proteins which are muscle and bone building.

According to Dr Richard Kalungi, a general practitioner at Royal Health Care, most red meat boils at a higher temperature than the white meat because it contains saturated fats.

He says, “for this reason, many people overcook or roast their meat for a long time. However, like any other foods, overcooking meat usually lessens the essential nutrients contained therein. There are also other health related complications of overcooking your meat.”

Increases cancer risk
Cooking meat at high temperatures and with dry heat destroys the nutrients and creates carcinogens. High temperature cooking like grilling and over cooking of any muscle meat, poultry or fish can generate compounds in food that may increase cancer risk.

Kakooza warns people to, “Choose lean red meat while grilling to reduce the heavy smoke which can leave the carcinogens in the meat and cook over medium heat rather than direct heat. Grilling helps to melt the fat. Limit frying and roasting which subject meat to high temperatures.”
How to cook
While cooking meat, avoid cooking fast at very high temperatures. It is more advisable to cook meat submerged in soup and do slow cooking.

“Do not overcook but make sure that meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses, Kakooza warns. Trim off all easily accessible fat from meat before cooking and remove burnt pieces before eating it. Add no fat or oil to the meat while cooking but rather after the cooking is done.”

When you season red meat, do not use salt or other sodium ingredients: acidic ingredients such as lemon juice work better.
Sometimes people deep fry beef and other red meat to enhance flavor or get a crispy texture but this cooking method poses potential health risks.

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