Whether you’re looking for a quick bite of information or want to drop some knowledge on your dinnertime companions, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
Happy National Hamburger Day! In honor of the day, we wanted to highlight some of the benefits of that lean and juicy beef patty. Although beef can get a bad reputation, it is a highly nutritious food with many health benefits.
1. Excellent Source of Protein
Beef is one of the best sources of protein we can get. One burger patty contains between 20-24 grams of protein. If your goal is to reach 50 grams of protein in a day, one burger will get you about halfway there.
We need protein to build or maintain muscle mass. Just be sure to opt for leaner beef with less fat. For example, 85% lean, 15% fat, or 90% lean and 10% fat.
2. Beef is Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Beef is packed with vitamins and minerals. One four-ounce patty contains 15% of our daily value of iron, 45% vitamin B12, 2% calcium, and 50% zinc. Beef also contains selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus.
This is important because some vitamins and minerals can almost only be found in animal foods. For example, we get vitamin B12 from mainly animal foods, and we need this vitamin for our blood flow, brain, and nervous system.
3. Beef Prevents Iron Deficiencies
We already know that we get 15% of our DV of iron from a beef patty. Beef is one of the best ways to get iron into our diet and prevent deficiencies. We need iron for many reasons. One reason is to make hemoglobin in the body, which is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen from the lungs all over the body.
Iron is also necessary for energy, brain function, and to make some hormones.
4. Beef Contains Important Amino Acids
Along with vitamins and minerals, beef is also a source of essential amino acids. One amino acid it is especially high in is L-Carnitine, which naturally occurs in meat products. One four-ounce beef patty contains between 56-162mg of L-Carnitine, contributing a great deal to our 500-2,000mg needed per day. We need this amino acid especially for metabolizing fat.
Besides L-Carnitine, beef and all animal proteins provide all the essential amino acids our body needs.
5. It’s a Sustainable and Environmentally-Friendly Food
Cattle are necessary for land management. Good grazing on the land benefits the soil, water, and biodiversity, helping to protect the land’s natural resources. Cattle are also used to cut carbon emissions. Ranchers that own both grasslands and beef can cut emissions by 50%. One rancher in Texas is sequestering 2,500 tons of carbon a year, the same as taking 551 cars off the road.
Contrary to popular belief, cows are even carbon neutral because, over time, they do not emit more carbon than they eat. As long as the global cattle population remains steady, which it has over the past ten years, then no additional CO2 is added from cows.
The Bottom Line
Beef is a highly nutritious and sustainable food. We need it to receive all of our daily essential nutrients and create a more sustainable world.