Bioavailability of Nutrients

Muscle foods have been shown to contain 'intrinsic' factors that improve the bioavailability of a variety of nutrients. Moreover, the bioavailability of these nutrients from muscle foods is high, often exceeding the availability for the same nutrients in foods derived from plants. Heme iron is one example. Zinc and copper have been shown to be more available from meat sources than from plant sources. Several of the B vitamins may also be more bioavail-able from meat sources than from plant sources.

Another interesting aspect of meat products is their ability to promote the bioavailability of nutrients in nonmuscle foods when the two are eaten together. This has been referred to as the 'meat factor.' Perhaps the best example of this is the positive effect of meat in the diet on non-heme iron sources, also in the diet.

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