Friday, March 14, 2014

Meaty matters

If, like me, you enjoy tucking in to things like  … beef Wellington, a juicy steak with Bearnaise sauce, leg of lamb roasted with garlic and thyme (you get my drift) … then you might have been dismayed by recent headlines suggesting that eating red meat could be more dangerous than smoking.

May I, then, introduce you to Behind the Headlines, set up in 2007 to provide an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news.

Fortunately for meat-lovers like me, when the Behind the Headlines team examined the story they concluded: ‘We have decades of very good evidence that smoking kills and – fortunately for meat lovers – this latest unhelpful comparison with high protein diets largely appears to be a triumph of PR spin.’

So is red meat good or bad for us? The jury is still out. There is evidence that eating red meat, especially if it has been barbecued, or processed, can be linked to an increase risk of bowel cancer.

On the other hand, according to the Meat Advisory Panel, who carried out a survey into people’s red meat eating habits, most of us know little about the important nutrients – such as iron - that red meat contains, 

‘Almost half (49%) of those questioned wrongly believe that spinach is a better source of iron than red meat, whilst more than one in five (23%) thought they were equally good. Just one in six (15%) correctly rated red meat as a superior source of iron.’
Dietitian Carrie Ruxton said:  ‘Red meat is one of the best sources of easily absorbed iron and it is particularly important for women to understand the value of including beef, pork or lamb as a regular part of their diets.
‘Low iron levels can lead to a host of niggling health problems including tiredness, poor concentration, headaches, feeling short of breath, irritability and dizziness. Symptoms are easily overlooked, but other warning signs include pale skin, brittle nails, cracked lips, muscle pain and feeling the cold.’
So … let me now wholeheartedly recommend you to the Duke’s Head in Highgate Village.

Many years ago I used to play darts (badly) in this pub. It was then a bit of a dive. Now it has been transformed and sells a range of craft beers  - but best of all is the food: salt beef rye buns or bagels courtesy of The Bell & Brisket.

Food for the soul – iron for the body. Perfect.

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