February 7/London/Meat Trades -- A British study shows moderate consumption of red meat provides levels of essential minerals for people who currently consume lower-than-recommended amounts.

Meat Trades Journal reports red meat plays a vital role in nutrition for the immune system and cognitive function of seven different age groups.

The study collected data from 103 previous scientific papers on red meat and nutrition. Research found consumers often lack key vitamins and minerals in their daily diets. Moderate consumption of red meat provides many of those necessary components including iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, potassium and zinc without substantially raising levels of energy and saturated fat.

The study, "Micronutrient Challenges Across the Age Spectrum: Is There a Role for Red Meat in the Diet?," also found those who eat lean meat on a regular basis also tend to eat healthier, consuming more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

A separate study by the Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University found older individuals can increase meat consumption to counteract age-related muscle loss.

Science Daily reports the study, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, found eating a 6oz. serving of 85% lean ground beef resulted in significant improvements in the rate of muscle protein synthesis following exercise.

The study included 35 men with an average age of about 59 years and found the quantity of beef needed for optimal muscle protein synthesis was double the current recommended intake of 3 ounces per serving for that age group.

According to the study, current guidelines are based on the amount of protein needed to prevent deficiency, but do not consider the prevention of muscle mass.