|MadSci Network: Biochemistry|
Meat is the muscle tissue of animals. Blood is the fluid which conveys oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and waste products from point to point within the body. Muscles process nutrients to expend energy, and use oxygen. You muscles get 'tired' when you use up the oxygen and start anerobic metabolism, which generates lactic acid as a byproduct. This lactic acid makes your muscles hurt after heavy use. How does oxygen transport in the body work? The oxygen is picked up by iron in the blood from the lungs. This 'heme' (=blood) iron is in the red blood cells in the form of hemoglobin, a protein-iron complex. The blood carries the oxygen to the muscles via the vascular system (arteries) of the body and returns it via the veins. The vascular system of the muscles themselves delivers the oxygen directly to individual muscle fibers. The fluid conveyed within the muscles is 'sarcoplasm'. It has to have iron in it to convey oxygen. This is in myoglobin and a smaller amount of hemoglobin. Hence the red color of muscles, and the red color of the liquid which oozes from meat. Strictly speaking, sarcoplasm is not blood, which is almost entirely drained from the body after slaughter to help hygiene. Sarcoplasm is, however, functionally similar to blood, even though it's a natural constituent of muscle. It's a type of cytoplasm, an intrinsic component of every living cell. That 'red stuff' that oozes out of the meat is packed with nutrition! It's full of iron, copper, selenium and other trace elements. It's got potassium and water-soluble vitamins. It's got a large chunk of the special nutritive properties of meat. Blood is very nutritious too, but it spoils very fast because of it. (The microbes eat the same stuff we do.) The sacroplasm is more stable because of the lower pH due to rigor mortis generating the lactic acid during contraction. "What's in a word? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Do you not eat apples because they're the sexual organ of a plant? All food can be made to sound unappetizing if described the right way. What's more important is that it tastes good and is nutritious. Meat and its sacroplasm are at the top of the food chain! Enjoy!
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Biochemistry.