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Health Benefits of Meats, Beans + Nuts

Meats, Beans & NutsMeat, poultry, fish, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds supply many nutrients and are an important part of healthy eating. Included in the USDA MyPlate's protein group, these healthy foods include not only proteins, but B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and B12), vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and iron. Salmon or tuna, almonds and walnuts provide some wonderful health benefits beyond these basic nutrients.

The healthy proteins in meat, beans and nuts function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes and hormones.

B vitamins found in this food group serve a variety of functions in the body. They help the body release energy and build tissue.

Vitamin B12 is needed for healthy blood. It is found only in animal products. If you are a vegetarian and do not eat any animal foods like eggs, milk or cheese, you may need to take a supplement for this vitamin or look for fortified vegetarian products.

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Beans are an excellent source of fiber.

Two to seven ounces of meat and beans per day are recommended, depending on how many calories you need.

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