By Erik Moller
An Australian study has linked the likelyhood of depression and anxiety in women who cut red meat from their diets. Those who ate less than the recommended amount of lamb and beef were twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders.
With over a thousand women in the study, it showed that going cold turkey on the red meat led to an increase in depression and anxiety.
We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health, as studies from other countries had found red meat consumption to be associated with physical health risks, but it turns out that it actually may be quite important, said Felice Jacka, from Deakin University, Victoria.
The researchers took into the account the participants' overall healthiness, their diets, socio-economic status, physical activity levels, smoking, weight and age, and the relationship between low red meat intake and mental health remained.
Interestingly, there was no relationship between other forms of protein, such as chicken, pork, fish or plant-based proteins, and mental health. Vegetarianism was not the explanation either. Only 19 women in the study were vegetarians, and the results were the same when they were excluded from the study analyses.
You can view the research here, in the journal Physhotherapy Physchosomatics. Researchers advised women not to exceed the recommended amount of red meat either. Just what is that magical amount? I'll tell you: according to the World Health Organization (or WHO for short), you should be consuming no more than 8oz of red meat per week (no more than 70g of red meat a day).
It seems that eating a moderate amount of lean red meat, which is roughly 3-4 small, palm-sized serves a week, may also be important.
I would also recommend free-range, grassfed cattle and sheep. Conversely, cattle and sheep that are fed grains instead of grass are "much less healthy meath with more saturated fat and fewer healthy fats."