Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs: Protein and Essential
Fats Organically raised animal products can be a very healthy part of a whole foods diet when consumed alongside a large serving of fresh vegetables. Wild game, as well as organic grass-fed meat and poultry are excellent choices when it comes to consuming meat. Wild game contains much less saturated fat than domesticated beef, and both wild game and organic grass-fed meats contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA assist your body in regulating weight and cholesterol. Meat and poultry are excellent sources of protein, vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium.
There are many organic farms raising animals in an ethical and healthful fashion. Find a local farm that raises grass-fed beef and organic free-range chickens and buy from them. Your local co-op or health food store may also be a good place to look. Avoid consuming grain-fed red meat because it can increase your risk for heart disease and cancer. Most meat, poultry, and fish can contain a significant amount of residual agricultural chemicals that are stored in the fatty tissues of the animal. Additionally, cured meats such as hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, and jerky contain sodium nitrates and/or nitrites that when eaten, react in the stomach with amino acids to form highly carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines.
These compounds pose a significant cancer risk to humans, especially children, and should be avoided at all times. Heavy metals, such as mercury, and PCBs are among some of the chemicals that can be found in significant levels in many fish. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are neurotoxic, hormonedisrupting chemicals that have been banned in the United States since 1977. Avoid farmed salmon as it is likely the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply. According to a study published in Science in January 2004, these chemicals were found at levels seven times higher in farmed salmon than in wild ones.
Also, avoid consuming tuna, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish, as these fish also contain high levels of pollutants. For more information visit www.GotMercury.org. When buying fish, choose fish from a sustainable fishery in Alaska. Wild fish fromAlaska are less polluted than fish from other parts of the world. Wild salmon is an ideal choice. It is an excellent source of DHA and EPA, two fatty acids that lead into anti-inflammatory pathways in the body.
These healthy fats are cardio-protective as well as promote proper brain development in infants and children. A 2005 article from Archives of Neurology found that consuming DHA-rich fish at least once a week was associated with a 10% per year slower rate of cognitive decline in elderly people. Your local co-op or health food store is a good place to shop for fish. You can also call your local fish market and ask them where their fish comes from.
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When buying eggs, choose eggs produced from a local certified organic company where the chickens have plenty of access to outdoor pasture. Chickens raised in their natural habitat and left to peck at wild grasses, mosses, and bugs will produce rich, nutritious eggs—very different from commercial factory-farmed eggs. Your local egg company may also add flaxseeds to the chickens’ diet. This makes the eggs a rich source for DHA, an important fat needed for many things in the body, including proper cognitive development in developing fetuses, babies, and children. When you eat animal foods, first and foremost choose organic. Wild Alaskan fish, grass-fed meats and poultry, and local fresh eggs are excellent choices.
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