Meat is a natural source of nutrition with positive qualities for the human organism. For this reason meat is part of a wholesome diet (varied diet), which is complemented by wholegrain products, fruit and vegetables and other ingredients. The nutrient density and the contents of important or even essential nutrients in meat are especially important for groups of the population with a high level of nutritional requirements, such as children (growth), pregnant women, or senior citizens.
The biological significance of a protein for the diet depends on the composition of amino acids. The essential amino acids, which the human body can no longer produce itself, are particularly key in this context.
The amino acids of animal proteins like milk, eggs, meat or fish better meet the needs of human beings in comparison with other foods. So we talk about the high value of proteins when it comes to meat products. For example the human organism can optimally use these proteins for cellular production or the immune system.
If you consider the supply of minerals available through meat, the excellent availability of minerals is remarkable. For example the trace minerals iron, zinc and selenium are far better absorbed by the body if they originate from animal products and are not of plant origin.
And what is more: the absorption of iron and zinc from vegetable foodstuffs is improved if it is consumed together with meat. This effect, also described as the “meat factor” has not yet been explained in detail, but it is assumed that milk protein has an influence.
If the minerals are absorbed they can take effect in different areas of the organism. For example iron is important for blood formation, natrium and potassium for water balance.
3. Bioactive substances
Healthy ingredients in foods, that do not have any nutrient make-up are compiled under the list of bioactive substances. For example, well-known exponents are carnitine, coenzyme Q10 or creatine. Bioactive substances are not vital, but do contribute to the functionality of the body and its ability to maintain health.
Coenzyme Q10 for example has an influence on energy metabolism and works as an antioxidant. Some bioactive substances can only be found in animal food products.
Human beings are dependent on a supply of vitamins. Meat is a valuable source of vitamins and contains an especially ample supply of vitamins from the B group (B1, B2, B6, B12) and folic acid. For example pork is a particularly good source of vitamin B1. Adequate provision of vitamin B1 is important for the nervous system and carbohydrate metabolism.