The Role of Animal Source Foods in Good Nutrition
For most people animal protein constitutes their main source protein in their daily diet. The role of animal source foods in nutrition or Animal source foods (ASF)
On average, a person eats 43 kg of chicken annually and over 800 million tons of milk is produced every year in the world. These numbers are just a few indicators of how high is the demand for ASF within the human diet. However, are animal products indeed so integral for good nutrition? And do those products have to be a
Nutritional Value Of Animal Source Foods
ASF is a vital source of nutrients necessary for our bodies to work well. These food items are usually rich with micronutrients that are hard to find in the plant source foods. The three main vitamins found in animal source foods – vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin D – are absent from plant source foods. In addition, such valuable nutrients as riboflavin, calcium, iron, and zinc are present in vegetables in much more modest quantities than in ASF foods. That is, to ensure having enough of those elements
This task can be very challenging for people with low incomes or dietary restrictions. As a matter of fact, ASF plays a crucial role in some territories such as rural parts of Egypt, Kenya, and Mexico, where affordable vegetarian diets can’t provide the full spectre of nutrients. Another consideration is that WHO-approved standard 2000 diets are comprised 70% of animal-derived protein products that also supply our bodies with fats and provide the necessary energy to be active during the whole day.
Health Impact Of Animal Source Foods
Conscious consumption of animal source foods can be a healthy founding stone in balanced nutrition. It is crucial to make sure people have enough products of this kind in their diet since childhood due to the vital role of micro and macronutrients from ASF for growth and development of our brains and bodies. Vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, and others help to prevent such diseases as anaemia, rickets, or eyesight impairments. As a bonus, these bio-active elements promote better growth and healthy neuromuscular development. Various studies show a positive impact of animal source food consumption on the development of a fetus. The main perk of adding ASF to a mostly plant-based diet during the pregnancy is that it will help the absorption of vitamins and minerals necessary for the mother’s body that is taking a double toll for her and the fetus’s well-being. For an adult, ASF is the fastest and most efficient way to receive a daily supply of energy, fats, and minerals necessary for productivity and cognition. However, everything is good in moderation. Excessive consumption of animal-derived foods combined within a poorly devised diet might lead to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity or cancer. Besides, high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in animal source foods are a subject of debate and continuous research in nutrition.
Impact Of Animal Source Food On The World Ecology
Livestock farming in its current volume causes significant damage to the environment and has devastating impacts on climate change. Greenhouse gases, deforestation, water shortages, and ocean dead zones are some of the chilling results of animal source food production, according to The Guardian. Climate change experts are holding aggressive awareness campaigns on the global impact of reckless livestock farming. By 2050 the population of Earth is expected to grow by 2.3 billion people, which will inevitably increase the production of animal source foods. Therefore, humanity has to rethink the concept of global meat and dairy consumption to keep the climate change impact under 2oC at the very least. In a very rough approximation, the world population on average would have to consume 9 times less pork, 7 times less beef, and 10% less milk and dairy yet two times more legumes.
However, the state of things is not quite dire. Some modern trends in farming and food sourcing influence the environment in a more positive way. An example of such a practice would be fish farming. Centralized fish farming helps natural ecosystems stay more biodiverse and leaves a much more modest pollution imprint. Some researches also believe that approx. ⅔ of agricultural lands that aren’t fit for crops anymore can be used for the production of high-quality ASF from ruminant mammals. Besides, some genetic engineering can help selectionally enhance rice straw so it can be fed to cattle instead of letting the offal rot or be burned as it happens across Asia. Thus, by rethinking some of our current production practices, we can balance out the devastating effect of the reckless animal-source food production of the past.
Most of us can’t imagine our lives without a good steak or a