Mineral levels and meat consumption linked

Lower consumption of meat could be linked to low levels of mineral intakes, according to a new study.

A significant proportion of adults and teenagers have lower-than-recommended mineral intakes, according to an analysis by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS).

The new analysis showed that the results have not improved over the past decade and the overall proportion of population groups with insufficient mineral intakes remains at 10-25%.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) found that those suffering from the lowest intakes of iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iodine were those who ate a smaller percentage of meat and meat products.

A previous NDNS survey estimated that around 70% of haem iron was provided by red meat and related products, and that red meat contributed a significant proportion of mean daily mineral intakes.

Dietitian and member of the Meat Advisory Panel Dr Carrie Ruxton commented: “Minerals play a critical role in everyday health and well-being, so it is quite concerning when a considerable proportion of the population has intakes below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake – the minimum for normal health.  

“As red meat is rich in minerals, one way for people to ensure they do receive adequate amounts of minerals is to include lean red meat in their diet.”

Iron, potassium, zinc and selenium are vital minerals to support cognitive and immune function, blood pressure, the nervous system, muscle function, fertility and reproduction, bones, hair, skin, vision and thyroid function to name a few.

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