8 Reasons Why Red Meat Should Be Avoided In The Summer
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Ancient wisdom in India has always advocated eating seasonal produce. There is a reason why our grandparents always included certain vegetables, fruits, and pluses in our meals in the winter but completely steered clear of them in the summer. When it's hot outside, the body needs a certain amount of cooling. What we eat plays an important role in keeping us healthy in the summer months. Skipping red meat during the summer months can have various advantages, especially when it comes to health, digestion, and the environment.

Since getting the right amount of protein is also important for the body, choosing white meat like chicken, turkey, and fish over red meat is a smart decision during the summer. Not only is it easier to digest, but it also helps keep your body temperature cooler and reduces the chances of dehydration. Moreover, white meat provides steady energy levels, promotes a healthier heart, and can be used in a wide range of light and refreshing dishes. Indulging in white meat in moderation allows you to benefit from important nutrients without the heavy feeling that often accompanies red meat.

Before indulging in red meat this season, consider this comprehensive list of reasons why red meat is best avoided in the summer.

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Body Heat And Slower Digestion

Did you know that red meat is thermogenic? This means that it increases your body's heat while you digest it. So, if you're already feeling hot in the summer, consuming red meat might make you feel even hotter and more uncomfortable. On top of that, red meat takes longer to digest compared to other protein sources, which can add to your discomfort.

Hydration And Salt Content

Red meat is packed with protein and demands additional water for digestion. Consuming red meat may heighten your body's water requirements, potentially leading to dehydration, particularly if you're not adequately hydrating in hot weather. Processed red meats frequently contain excessive sodium levels, further elevating the risk of dehydration.

Low Energy Levels

The heaviness of red meat can cause you to feel sluggish and low on energy. In contrast, lighter food choices such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help you maintain higher energy levels and feel more lively throughout the day.

Heart Health And Cancer

According to a report by National Institutes Of Health, consumption of large quantities of red meat, especially processed types, can elevate the likelihood of heart disease and high cholesterol levels due to its high saturated fat and sodium levels, ability to trigger inflammation and oxidative stress (a harmful condition resulting from an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's antioxidant defenses) and negative impact on cholesterol levels. 

The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.

Research has also shown a potential association between high red meat consumption and specific cancers, like colorectal cancer. Decreasing red meat intake could be beneficial in reducing these risks.

Gut Health

Have you ever noticed that red meat can sometimes cause digestive discomfort? It's true, as it can be harder for your system to break down. This can result in issues like constipation, especially if your diet lacks sufficient fibre. 

Risk Of Foodborne Diseases 

It's important to be cautious with red meat, especially if it's not cooked properly or stored incorrectly in warm temperatures. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella can thrive in these conditions. Make sure to cook the meat at the right temperature to avoid cross-contamination. These simple steps are crucial to preventing foodborne illnesses. Stay vigilant about food safety, especially in the summer.

Weight Management 

Red meat is high in calories. Cutting it out can assist in controlling your calorie consumption, which can be helpful if you want to maintain or lose weight in the summer.

Environmental Impact

Beef production, along with other red meats, includes the raising of ruminant animals like cows. These animals produce methane as they digest their food. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat much more effectively than carbon dioxide. When we reduce the demand for these animals, it helps lower methane emissions and decreases overall greenhouse gases. By cutting back on red meat consumption, you can make a significant difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving water. 

Substituting Red Meat

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Take advantage of the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce available during the summer months as a delicious and nutritious alternative to red meat. By incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins into your diet, you can elevate your meals with a burst of flavours and colours. Stay hydrated and nourished with watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, leafy greens, and lean proteins such as whole grains.

Keep your hydration levels up with water, coconut water, and herbal teas. Add a refreshing twist to your water by infusing it with lemon, mint, or cucumber slices. Opt for low-fat or non-dairy options like almond milk, yoghurt, and light cheeses. Instead of grilling red meat, try grilling vegetables, fish, or plant-based burgers for a lighter and equally satisfying meal