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    Meat is good for you. There are experts who might disagree with me, and many researchers continue to search for evidence linking meat to heart disease, for example.

    But as a Harvard-trained, board-certified psychiatrist specializing in nutritional and metabolic psychiatry, I’ve long been curious about the relationship between food and brain health, as well as overall well-being. And in my research, I’ve yet to find a credible, plausible health argument against eating meat of any kind (including red meat, seafood, and poultry).

    In fact, no other food group is nutritious enough, safe enough, or geographically accessible enough to recommend as the healthy foundation of the optimal human diet. 

    So if I could only afford to buy food from one food group, I’d prioritize meat.

    Why meat is actually good for you

    Meat is good for gut health because it’s non-irritating, easy to digest, and supports healthy insulin levels without promoting blood glucose spikes.

    It also provides all of the macronutrients and micronutrients we need, including some that are difficult or impossible to obtain from plant foods. For instance, it’s an excellent source of every B vitamin, including B7, which plants contain very little of, and B12, which plants do not contain at all.

    Only meat contains heme iron, a form of iron at least three times easier for us to absorb than the non-heme iron in plants. And only animal-source foods contain the MK‑4 form of vitamin K2, which is easier to absorb (and is the form used by the human brain).

    Some scientists even argue that eating meat made us human — meaning that it allowed us to devote less energy and bodily real estate to the long intestinal tract needed to process high-fiber, high-plant diets, so that we could invest more energy in developing our uniquely oversized brains.

    How to nourish, protect, and energize your brain with meat

    Here’s how to incorporate meat in your diet the right way: 

    There are plenty of unanswered questions about nutrition, but I’d say the answer to “Does meat belong in the human diet?” is a resounding yes.

    Georgia Ede, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist specializing in nutrition science and brain metabolism. Her 25 years of clinical experience include 12 years as a psychiatrist and nutrition consultant at Smith College and Harvard University Health Services. She is also the author of “Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind.” 

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