The protein in meat is 95-100% digestible where most plant proteins are only 65-70% digestible. Only digestible protein is able to be used by the body, showing the importance of animal protein to the diet.
Unless vitamin and mineral supplements are used in a diet, it is extremely difficult to meet these daily nutrient requirements if meat is not included in the diet.
Pork and other animal meats are very high in absorbable iron. Iron is not stored in the body, so it must be provided by food sources. Meat has nearly four times the amount of available iron as plant sources, like beans and/or nuts, which are high in iron.
When meat is consumed in a meal with other foods, the meat increases the digestibility of the iron from other food sources. Therefore, meat actually increases the nutritional value of other foods when it is consumed.
Balanced and highly available protein is essential for physical well-being, immune system development, and intellectual development. Deficiencies in protein and essential vitamins and minerals can result in anemia, delayed cognitive development, reduced muscular development, and a higher incidence of disease.