The meat plays an important role in diet provides essential nutrients how are the proteins of high nutritional value, vitamins from group B or the iron and the zincnecessary for optimal health1.
Protein needs vary depending on the age and physiological situation of each person, with 0.83 g/kg/day being the average reference recommendation for the adult populationtwo.
Meat is made up of water, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, and other bioactive components, as well as small amounts of carbohydrates..
From a nutritional point of view, the importance of meat is given fundamentally by its high quality proteinwhich contain all the essential amino acids, minerals, such as iron and zinc, and vitamin content from group B1.
Protein needs vary depending on the age and physiological situation of each person.
The protein requirement in infants and children is defined as the minimum intake that will allow nitrogen balance in an adequate body composition plus the needs associated with the formation of muscle tissues and growth.two.
The child population has higher requirements because protein is necessary for body development, as well as for the physical activity they perform.
In infants of 0 to 6 months the recommended protein intake is 1.3 g/kg/day. From the 7 months and up to the first year of life needs decrease and a contribution of 1.1g/kg/daytwo.
Breast milk covers all the nutritional needs of the baby up to 6 months, but from that age it is necessary to include other protein foods, such as meat and fish, to cover their needs.
Protein recommendation for children between 1 and 10 years is a daily consumption of 0.85-1.03 g/kg two. The needs are greater in the first years (up to 3) due to the higher growth rate. As the stage of adolescence arrives, these needs increase again due to the high level of growth of muscle and bone mass and the energy expenditure that this entails.. From 11 to 17 years of age, the recommended intakes are 0.86-0.91 g/kg/day in men and 0.83-0.90 g/kg/day in women. two.
From the age of 18, 0.83g/kg/day should be ingested to meet the needstwo. This recommendation excludes pregnant women and lactating mothers, since they require an extra contribution.
The development of maternal tissues and fetal tissues requires a higher protein intake in the diet4, therefore, 1, 9 and 28 grams more protein should be added daily to the recommended 0.83g/kg in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy, respectivelytwo.
During lactation, the mother’s protein intake should be higher because part of the protein ingested in the diet is used for the production of milk protein. An additional 19 grams of protein should be eaten daily in the first six months and 13 grams in the following months until breastfeeding is stoppedtwo.
The elderly have the same protein requirements as adults; 0.83g/kg/daytwo, but it is important to ensure this contribution because the deficit can worsen your health and quality of life. Protein-energy malnutrition is often seen in the elderly and can increase sarcopenia, that is, the loss of muscle mass with aging. Sarcopenia is a physical factor of frailty syndrome.
Meat as a protein source; consumption recommendation
As we have seen previously, meat is an important source of high biological value proteinsof vitamin B12, iron, potassium, phosphorus Y zinc.
The fat content depends on the animal it comes from and the piece, but it is always recommended choose lean cuts of meat Y remove visible fat before cooking the food.
In addition, the meat contains highly bioavailable iron and, in addition, it increases the absorption of iron provided by cereals or legumes.
The Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), in its Dietary Recommendations for the Spanish population, recommends the consumption of up to 4 servings of meat per week (no more than 2 servings of red meat), and the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) recommends the consumption of 3 servings of meat per weekprioritizing the consumption of lean meats and those with lower fat content, while processed meats should be consumed in moderation due to their higher fat content .
Why is meat consumption recommended?
A consumption of foods with high protein quality during middle age is necessary to maintain muscle mass and strength, and, therefore, to maintain a good quality of life. Meat consumption can help delay the onset of sarcopenia in adults, it is a common cause of physical disability8.
Meat is a source of B vitamins. Pork meat provides large amounts of vitamin B1, also provides vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12. Likewise, rabbit, pork and beef stand out for their content of vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B129 . These vitamins are essential for the functioning of the nervous systemthe formation of Red blood cellsthe body growth and the tissue regeneration 9.
It is important that we remember that the Vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to pernicious anemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, lack of energy, pale skin, gastrointestinal problems, or shortness of breath during exercise. Vitamin B12 is only found in products of animal originand meat is a good source of it.
Likewise, meat consumption also plays an important role in the prevention of iron deficiency anemia, since between a 30-60% of the iron in meat is highly bioavailable, and it also increases the absorption of iron provided by other foods.9.
Beef, pork, and lamb are good sources of zinc. providing more quantity than fish. This mineral is necessary for the immune system works correctly. It participates in the division and growth of cells, as well as in wound healing and in the metabolism of nutrients. carbohydrates. Another of the minerals present in meat, especially in rabbit, is he match, What is it essential for bone formation 8.
Therefore, we can conclude by saying that meat provides important nutrients for the proper functioning of the bodycontributing to the maintenance of adequate health and should be included in a healthy and balanced diet in accordance with the recommendations of experts in nutrition and to the needs of each person.
 FAO. Composition of the meat. 2015.[Intenet] [Consultado el 02.12.2021] Available in: https://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/themes/es/meat/backgr_composition.html
 European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for protein. EFSA Journal. 2012; 10(2):2557
 Lázaro A, Martín B. Healthy infant feeding. AEPED.
 UNED. Food and health guide; feeding in the stages of life.
 Spanish Society of Community Nutrition. Healthy Eating Guide for Primary Care and Citizen Groups. SENC. 2018
 Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN). Report of the Scientific Committee to review and update the Dietary Recommendations for the Spanish population. Magazine of the Scientific Committee of the AESAN, 2020, 32, pp: 11-58. Available in: https://www.aesan.gob.es/AECOSAN/docs/documentos/seguridad_alimentaria/evaluacion_riesgos/info rmes_comite/RECOMENDACIONES_DIETETICAS.pdf
 Wyness L. The role of red meat in the diet: nutrition and health benefits. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2016. 75, 227–232.
 Spanish Association of Cuniculture (ASESCU). Health and nutrition. Rabbit meat as a source of health. Cuniculture bulletin. No. 199. Available at: https://asescu.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/199SaludyNutricion.pdf
 Spanish Nutrition Foundation. Meat nutritional guide. FEN. 2010
 “Pernicious anemia.” Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine. Available in: https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/000569.htm