Can Red Meats Reduce Anxiety and Depression?
Ever wondered why you might be drawn to some foods, even though on ideological grounds you would prefer to avoid them? If red meats reduce anxiety and depression, that could be a compelling reason for you to feel better eating them, even though you disagree with eating meat and would prefer to be vegetarian or vegan.
There is no such thing as a one size fits all diet. We are all different and have different needs, but sadly most people have lost the connection with their body that allows them to listen to its needs and detect the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) changes that can occur when we consume certain foods and drinks.
Science Shows Red Meats Reduce Anxiety and Depression
A 2012 Australian study called Red Meat and Mood and Anxiety Disorders involved 1,046 women aged 20-93 years old. The study found that women eating less than 3-4 servings of beef or lamb each week had two times the likelihood of being diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety as women who ate at least 3-4 serves of red meat per week.
This is a very impressive study result and should be seriously considered by anyone suffering from mood disorders, as it might just be the missing part of their health puzzle. It is totally understandable that many people would prefer to be vegetarian or vegan. We would prefer to be vegetarian, but we are blood type O, that is supposed to thrive on meat. When we have tried to cut red meats from our diet, we listened to our bodies and did not feel as well as when eating meat.
It is important to note that this was an Australian study and Australian meat is more often than not grass fed, especially lamb, so this study result cannot be extrapolated to other countries where meat might be coming from feeding lot operations using corn and large amounts of antibiotics and hormones.
What Meat Should You Eat?
Ideally the beef should be organic and grass fed, and the lamb should be grass fed. Chicken must be organic and free range.
As you can see from the study, just 3-4 serves per week are sufficient to make a substantial difference, but make sure that these are of the highest quality you can afford. It is false economy to go for cheaper meat – this will not serve your health well in the long term.
Organ Meats – More Bang for Your Buck
If you really would like to optimise the benefits of eating meat, please consider the bits that most people no longer think of buying, but which used to be standard fare in most households a generation or so ago.
The organs are the richest in terms of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and are the parts of the body that, in the animal kingdom, the pack leader will eat first and leave the muscle meat for the rest of the pack.
Interestingly organic liver, kidney and heart are much cheaper per kg than organic steak, and yet they contain many more vitamins, minerals and nutrients, so you do not require as much of it to feel full and satisfied.
Your shopping bill will be reduced if you are prepared to introduce these organ meats into your diet.
There are many good recipes you can find on line to prepare organ meats, and one of the easiest ways of introducing heart meat is to ask your butcher to mince this for you mixed together with beef mince. This will make a delicious burger that does not taste so different to a conventional one.
In conclusion, please do not think that we are urging all vegetarians or vegans to go back to being carnivores – that is not the purpose of this blog. We just wish to alert you to the fact it has been shown that red meat reduces anxiety and depression, and that some people will be less likely to suffer from mood disorders if they consume enough good quality red meat regularly.
If you avoid red meat but do eat white meat and also suffer from any mood disorders, you might like to consider adding red meat into your diet. Just give it a go and listen to what your body tells you.
Keeping mood disorders at bay, Edith and Tim at CoolWellbeing Foundation.