Red meat has been an important part of the human diet for millennia; the Europeans were nourished by venison, the Native Americans were sustained by bison, and lamb and mutton provided sustenance for the nomads of the Middle East, yet these traditional populations did not suffer from the chronic illnesses, cancer and heart diseases that we see in our modern society.
The modern trend is to now move away from meat eating, in a response to several negative claims that we find in health magazines.
There seems to be a large focus on the benefits on eating vegetables and plant foods, and an avoidance of meat and animal products. However, according to a study published in Psychology Today, roughly 75% of vegetarians return to meat eating, and the most common reason for the former vegetarians decision to switch back was declining health.
Contrary to media health claims, it is unquestionable that red meat has great health benefits, and that it makes a delicious, hearty and satisfying meal.
The questionable factors are the ethical treatment of the animal in its life and death, and the processing of the meat, which will determine its quality.
If you do enjoy red meat, these mini lamb koftas are the perfect reason to eat your meat, as they are bursting with both nutrients and deliciousness! It may cost you a little bit more, but wherever possible, buy good quality organic meat, grass fed, and free from antibiotics, steroids and other chemicals to ensure a significant increase in health benefits, and beautiful flavour.
Red meat, if it is grass-fed and farmed organically, has some amazing health benefits that should not be overlooked. Here are some reasons that you may like to get friendly with red meat again, and to create a balanced, healthy diet.
Red meat is high in Iron. Yes. We have probably all heard this one, but it is important, especially for women. It is specifically high in heam iron, the most easily absorbed source of iron. When absorbed properly, iron assists the bloods haemoglobin in carrying oxygen to the body’s cells.
Stearic acid. This is a saturated fat, and has been consequently written off as BAD in the eyes of western doctors. However, research shows that despite the prevalent thought that all saturated fats cause a rise in bad cholesterol, stearic acid lowers it!
Zinc. This mineral acts as a powerful immune booster, and can combat the effects of premature ageing due to its significant anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc is also a skin saviour, aiding wound healing that can result from skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
Grass fed meat is high in fat soluble vitamin A, including both retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is important for proper immune function by fighting infection, and helps to keep your eyes and skin moist. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, helping to scavenge free radicals in the body, thereby limiting damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures of our cells.
Red meat is a great source of complete protein. Protein is paramount to our health, as every cell in the human body is made up of it! Protein provides energy, and is critical to the growth and repair of cells, including the antibody cells of our immune systems which protect the body against pathogens. Protein from red meat is especially important as it contains the full spectrum of amino acids.
The fat from naturally fed ruminants contains significant amounts of EPA, an important omega-3 fatty acid that is also found in oily fish such as wild salmon. EPA is known for its positive effects on cognitive function and emotional health. Low levels of EPA have also been found to coincide with the development and presence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Grass fed red meat is an excellent source of this important fatty acid, as it contains a more favourable ratio of omega-3 to omega-5 fatty acids than conventionally fed cows.
If you have been afraid of eating your red meat, hopefully this will encourage you. And what better way to embrace an array of positive essential nutrients, than to have a little kofta party?
Eating red meat doesn’t have to mean chewing on a flavourless boot. Your jaw will be pleasantly surprised, as these mini lamb koftas use tenderly ground meat combined with the flavour of intermingling spices. Enjoy!
Mini Lamb Koftas
- 8 wooden skewers
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 500 g minced lamb
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- To prevent them burning, soak the skewers in a dish of cold water for 45-60 minutes.
- In a small bowl place lemon juice and olive oil, combine and set aside.
- Place the minced lamb, onion, egg, mint, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and oregano into a bowl and add a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Using your hands mix all the ingredients together, kneading it until well combined. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, you can add some nutritional yeast flakes to help it hold together.
- Divide the mixture into 16 equal parts. Roll each into a ball. Spike two balls per skewer, leaving a couple of centimetres space in between, and squeezing them tightly to secure them.
- Preheat the grill to high. Brush the koftas with the combined lemon juice and olive oil. Grill, turning regularly, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.