With issues of healthy living skyrocketing at each dawn, people are becoming more and more confused on what to put on their table and what to avoid. Most of them want to have meat on their diet but are not sure on which one is a better source of protein over the other. One of the reasons why it’s hard to choose between red meat and fish is that they both are in the same food group. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends adult men between 19-50 years to take six to six-and-a-half ounces of food in protein food group every day while women of the same age bracket should take five to five-and-a-half ounces every day. It’s not easy to deduce which one has a better source of protein between fish and red meat, and that’s why we are here to bring everything to light.
What is the importance of protein?
Given that we all need protein, you may wonder why it’s so important in our bodies. Well, the answer to that could be broad, but upon hitting the nail on the head, protein supports various functions in human bodies such as neurotransmitters, immune system, enzymes, anti-oxidants and maintains and repairs organs and tissues. In addition to that, protein helps in the building of cells, muscles, and tissues. Even though we all need protein, the need differs depending on an individual’s energy need and consumption. For those exercising daily, one gram of protein in a kilogram of body weight every day is perfect on condition that they consume 15-25g of protein after exercise to help in repair and growth of muscles.
Fish vs Red meat – The better source of protein
Now that we already know how important protein is to our bodies, let’s examine the source of protein for each and deduce which one is better than the other. Protein contains amino acids which are regarded as the building blocks for muscles, skin, and tissue. In every twenty amino acids, ten of them are obtained from dietary sources enough to make protein’s complex molecule.
Red meat can be identified by its red color when raw which turns dark upon cooking. Examples of red meat include beef, mutton, lamb, pork, and goat. Red meat contains an approximate of 36g of protein per 100gm of lean meat. Red meat is also associated with high amounts of carbohydrates and creatine, and when used in excess, it can make your body to be bulky thus making a good choice for those struggling to build muscles. Creatine is vital to the human body as it creates lean muscle tissue, enhances red blood cell production and protein metabolism. However, red meat has its negative side in that it can cause water retention which usually causes bloating.
To be more specific, beef that has been fed on grass rather than on grain has better nutritional elements such as higher Vitamin E, carotenoids, and minerals such as phosphorus, iron, sodium, zinc, and potassium, and not forgetting high volumes of omega-3 fatty acids.
Choosing fish for your diet two to three times a week is a perfect choice for everyone as it is healthy in protein. Fish contain an approximate of 26g of protein per 100gm. In addition to that, fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low saturated fats both of which are excellent for the brain and heart. Besides the excellent protein provided by the fish, it also provides a variety of mineral and vitamins such as phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, iodine, and Vitamins A and D.
If you prefer canned fish over fresh fish, go for salmon as it contains high protein levels and low levels of fat and contaminants. Bluefin tuna which is usually consumed in sushi dishes contain high levels of proteins but high levels of mercury. And according to the American Heart Association (AHA), light canned tuna contains low levels of mercury but low protein level. You may wonder why mercury level and fish consumption is of concern, but I will make it clear to you. Mercury is a metal that exists naturally in the air, soil, and water. It is build up in the fish which is then eaten by human beings who can suffer from mercury poisoning with severe symptoms such as muscle damage, brain damage, joints pain, and organ damage. Including fish in your diet is a wise move as it’s an excellent source of protein and nutrients, but weigh the idea of consuming fish against possible threats such as mercury contamination.
From the above, we can easily deduce that red meat is a better source of protein as it has more protein per 100gm than fish. We all require protein to preserve the mass of lean muscle and also because it acts as a source of energy for the body when fat and carbohydrates are unavailable. Therefore, the choice of what to put on the table depends on you, but putting other factors such as possible contaminants and fat content into consideration may influence your decision and drive you to consume what is good for your body.