September 3, 2012
For years, the media gave beef a bad rap, causing many people to shy away from buying even the leanest cuts of beef. Much to my delight, the current popularity of high-protein diets has boosted sales of beef across America, yet we still consume 25 percent less beef than we did in the mid-1970s. When was the last time you enjoyed some beef? I'm not talking about a fast-food hamburger, but rather a lean, tasty piece of steak, fillet, or roast. This nutrient-rich food promotes a strong immune system, provides energy to every cell, and helps build those all-important fat burning muscles.
Beef is hearty and deeply flavored and ranks high as a source for protein, vitamin B12, zinc, and the potent fat flushing fat burner, l-carnitine. A3-ounce serving of beef supplies as much iron as 3 cups of raw spinach and as much zinc as 30 ounces of tuna. Beef also ranks high in iron, phosphorus, selenium and the B-complex vitamins. In addition, about half the fat in beef is healthy monounsaturated fat, which does not raise cholesterol levels.
Beef's vitamin B12 content helps the body convert the potentially dangerous chemical homocysteine into harmless molecules, decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even osteoporosis. Organic beef is also a very good source of the trace mineral selenium, which helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and supports antioxidant activity in the liver and throughout the body. In addition, the zinc in lean beef helps prevent blood vessel damage that can lead to atherosclerosis and is also needed for proper functioning of the immune system.
Most of the beef available today is raised on grass and fattened on feed lots with feed consisting of corn and molasses, plus a hefty dose of antibiotics and other additives. For meat that is free of antibiotics, added hormones, and pesticides, consider buying organically certified beef. Another option is to look for grass-fed beef, which is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Grassfed beef contains significant amounts of two "good" fats, monounsaturated oils and stearic acid, but no artificial trans-fatty acids. Grass-fed beef is also the richest known natural source of CLA and is lower in total fat and calories than conventional beef.