The following content is created in consultation with Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, and the Virginia Beef Industry Council. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Washington’s editorial staff. To learn more visit beefitswhatsfordinner.com.
Calorie for calorie, it is hard to beat all the nutrients you get from a single serving of lean beef. When you are watching and reducing your calorie intake to aid in your weight loss efforts, it can be hard to get all the nutrients that your body needs to stay nourished and energized. Just a 3oz serving of lean beef contains more than 10 percent of your daily needs of all these essential nutrients - protein (50 percent), zinc (39 percent), vitamin B12 (37 percent), selenium (24 percent), phosphorus (20 percent), niacin (18 percent), Vitamin B6 (16 percent), iron (14 percent), riboflavin (12 percent).
Rich in muscle-building protein, heart-healthy fat and important nutrients, a lean cut of beef can keep us stronger, leaner and healthier, all while delivering that delicious flavor we love.
Still need convincing that it’s ok to order your favorite steak tonight? Let’s dig into the health facts.
It’s an Excellent Source of Zinc, Iron and Protein
Good news: Beef is packed with protein, that macronutrient (i.e. your body needs a lot of it) that is essential to everything from rebuilding muscle and repairing tissues to making enzymes, hormones and bone mass. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each three-ounce serving provides 50 percent of the daily protein recommendation for men and 60 percent for women. The result? Protein-oriented diets keep you strong, slim and energized.
Beef is also a great source of iron and zinc. Iron helps break down protein and oxygenate our blood. If we don’t get enough iron, we risk becoming anemic, resulting in fatigue caused by reduced oxygen carried to vital organs. Fortunately, beef offers us heme iron, a far more efficient variety than the iron found in vegetables. Zinc is an essential nutrient which is most commonly known for maintaining a healthy immune system. Zinc also fuels thousands of bodily processes, including building muscles and healing wounds, as well as contributing to cognitive health.
Plus Fat That’s Good For You!
Not all fats are created equal. While the common variety is best avoided, unsaturated fats — aka polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, or simply: the good fats — can both cut cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease. In other words: great news for red meat eaters because beef is rich in oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. And because it lowers your body’s LDL cholesterol and reduces the ratio of total cholesterol in your body, even the saturated fat found in beef can decrease your risk of heart disease.
Bring on The Nutrients
Finally, beef is loaded with vital nutrients like selenium and Vitamins B and D. So how does that affect you? Vitamin B protects your body against a variety of health problems, from neurological disorders to cancer, while Vitamin D keeps both your bones and teeth healthy. Selenium is no slacker either, regulating our body’s metabolism.
With so many health benefits, does this mean you can eat as much steak as you want? No, instead we are encouraging you to eat lean cuts of beef, in 3 oz. portions combined with other healthy choices (yes, you should still eat those veggies). Beef is a healthy part of anyone’s diet, especially when coupled with a healthy lifestyle.