Food, Cicero: “Red meat is also useful in some clinical conditions”

President of the Italian nutraceutical society: “Improves anemia, sarcopenia, scarring and cognitive decline”

“Medical indications for a reasoned and reasonable intake of red meat are based on the existence of some clinical conditions in which the amino acid and mineral intake – such as iron or zinc and vitamins – obtainable with these meats can justify a specific indication to reasonable intake of these foods. Specific examples are: anemia; the prevention and management of loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, even following prolonged or partial immobilization or just a few days; for the healing of trauma or disease , including psychiatric ones such as cognitive decline in the elderly”. Thus said Arrigo Cicero, president of the Italian nutraceutical society, speaking today at the conference ‘Red meat: economy, health and society. A reflection’, organized by the National Academy of Agriculture at the Confagricoltura headquarters in Rome.

“In the case of anemia – explains Cicero – the ‘heme’ iron present in meat is used not only for the hemoglobin of the red blood cells, but also for the immune response and tissue repair. Unfortunately, absorption is reduced when at the same time plant products or substances such as coffee and tea or antacids, the best-selling drugs in the world. An iron deficiency is also suspected in athletes, in those who have chronic inflammatory conditions, as in the case of autoimmune diseases. However, it remains clear that the bioavailability of iron in meat is 8 times higher than that of vegetables.”

Sarcopenia, i.e. the reduction of muscle mass, “is increasing and evolving especially in the elderly population – underlines the expert – This condition compromises survival, which is dramatically lower. Hospital stay, for example, is 4 times longer long in these subjects, but the real problem is that the loss of muscle mass is associated with a series of metabolic pathologies that lead to an accumulation of lipids and cardio-metabolic repercussions. For this reason, adequate consumption of meat is also recommended in the elderly, considering that the cholesterol content in a lean cut is lower than that of a chicken leg or eggs.”

Even wounds and sores heal better with an adequate intake of meat “thanks to the presence of noble proteins, zinc and iron – recalls Cicero – Unfortunately these people tend not to eat meat: it is a vicious circle that is little considered” .

Finally, concludes the president of the Italian Nutraceutical Society, “there are studies in elderly people with an initial cognitive decline that demonstrate how, with an adequate consumption of red meat, after 24 weeks of treatment, the ability to memorize and learn improves, which not indifferent in these subjects, with a neutral impact on neurodegeneration and systemic inflammation”.