Lamb is meat from domesticated young sheep, and is known as a type of red meat; a term which is used  to describe the meat of mammals considered richer in iron than fish or chicken. Meat from young sheep that are in their first year of life is lamb, whereas mutton is used to describe meat from an adult sheep. Being as rich in vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein as they are, lamb can make up an excellent part of a healthy diet. In keeping with this we wanted to break down the reasons why lamb should be on your menu, particularly if you are trying to stay healthy!

Vitamins and minerals

Lamb meat is a lean, high-quality source of protein, providing all nine of the essential amino acids that the body needs for adequate maintenance and growth. Lamb is also rich in plenty of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, niacin, phosphorus, and iron. Vitamin B12 is important for brain function and blood formation, while selenium supports many of our bodily processes that includes cognition, function of the immune system, and fertility, among others. Zinc, niacin, phosphorus, and iron are also absolutely essential for a variety of important functions in the body, particularly optimal hormone functioning that is beneficial for maintenance and body growth.

Other compounds

Aside from a host of vitamins and minerals, lamb also contains numerous bioactive antioxidants and nutrients that can positively impact health. Creatine, for example, is an essential energy source for our muscles, while taurine is an amino acid antioxidant that is beneficial for both muscle and heart health. Glutathione and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) are also found in lamb and have a number of health benefits.

Health benefits

Since lamb is a rich source of high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals, it can be a fantastic component of a truly healthy diet. Maintaining muscle mass, especially as we get older, is extremely important, and including high-quality protein in our diets is one of the best ways to ensure this is achieved. Inadequate protein consumption can accelerate age-related muscle wasting and increase your risk of sarcopenia.

Lamb not only helps to preserve the muscle mass in our bodies but is also powerfully beneficial for the overall function of muscle. It contains high amounts of the amino acid beta-alanine, which the body will use to produce carnosine, a substance that is necessary for human muscular function. High levels of carnosine have also been found to decrease fatigue and improve exercise performance.

Iron deficiency is a major cause of anaemia, a common condition that is typically characterised by lower levels of red blood cells in the body and a decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Lamb is of the best sources of dietary iron that can be found anywhere. It not only contains a massively bioavailable form of iron called heme-iron, but also drastically improves the overall absorption of non-heme iron, a form of iron which is found in plant life and has been shown to have substantial protective qualities against chronic diseases and inflammation.

 Martins Meats are an award-winning family butchers established in 2003 by husband and wife, Martin and Emma Gilder. Martin’s father and grandfather have been cattle farmers and dealers for many years.  Take a look at our website to find out more about who we are and what we do.

 We don’t enter into competitions for any glory (although it is nice to win and be recognised), but we do enter because we believe it is the perfect way of showcasing our passion for our industry.  It’s also a great way to educate the public about how best practice and husbandry of animals leads directly to superior quality meat.

 We go to great lengths to make sure that the farms we select our meat from, including our own, are of an exceptional standard before, during and after delivery of livestock. We are proud to state that this, combined with our understanding of meat and how to get the best from it, enables Martins Meats to recommend the best methods and recipes to maximise the flavour and tenderness of our meat and meat products.

 Find out more about the individual awards here: Great Taste Awards | Taste of the West

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