Red meat can form an important part of a balanced, nutritious diet. The type to go for should be derived from the organic, free-range source and, crucially, in its unprocessed form. For example, an oven-cooked piece of lamb or beef from the nearby organic farm grown grazing free in the field is acceptable to have once a week. This is because red meat provides heme iron, which is easily absorbed. It also contains substantial amounts of vitamin B12 and zinc, as well as a significant amount of protein.
Unfortunately, the type of red meat most of us have easy access to nowadays is in its highly processed form, which means it has been treated with chemicals and salt. Both of these elements alter the qualities of the meat and have given it the label of a carcinogen (there is a strong link between bowel cancer and processed meat consumption). And processed doesn’t just mean bacon, ham or pastrami; even a piece of steak, seemingly unaltered and in its natural form, may be processed. Most of the meat we buy comes from a factory environment, has been fed grains, and been treated with hormones, antibiotics, nitrates and preservatives. So, the advice is to consume as little red meat as possible and, again, opt for more plant-based foods, such as lentils, beans, etc.