A generation or two ago, our parents and grandparents viewed beef as a nutritious health food.
These days, opinion is split between whether beef is healthful or harms our health.
Some of the more extreme vegan views even call for the authorities to remove meat from the food supply - but we disagree.
Red meat is delicious and there are some important health benefits of eating beef!
L-carnitine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in meat products.
Among other functions, L-carnitine plays a part in fat metabolism.
As part of this, L-Carnitine does the job of transporting fats into our mitochondria for burning.
A meta-analysis of randomized trials suggests that L-carnitine improves patient outcomes. Specifically, it exerts an effect on hypertension, oxidative stress, nitric oxide, and inflammation.
A further systematic review found that L-carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality in heart failure patients.
A systematic review shows that higher L-carnitine intake in type 2 diabetes patients improves fasting glucose levels and the overall cholesterol profile.
According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials, subjects using L-carnitine supplementation lost “significantly more weight” than the control group.
Commonly known as the ‘master antioxidant,’ glutathione has a score of research linking it to;
It helps protect every cell in our body from cellular damage, which can lead to many chronic diseases.
On the other hand, a deficiency in glutathione contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation.
As a result, keeping glutathione levels high is important for our overall health.
There are numerous reasons why we should strive to ensure a sufficient protein intake and these include;
Beef is packed with health-promoting amino acids, and it’s one of the single biggest sources of protein in the human diet.
For instance, a 6oz (170g) portion of 80% lean beef provides 46g protein.
Should we opt for a leaner variety of beef, the protein content can be even higher.
If you’re looking to increase your intake of various minerals, then beef is one of the best options to consider.
First of all, beef is relatively nutrient-dense in minerals.
As shown in the table, beef provides more than half of the day’s recommended amount of selenium and zinc.
Many people have deficiency issues with some of these minerals.
So, the nutritional value of beef can help fight prevalent global deficiencies in iron, magnesium, and zinc.
We touched on mineral deficiencies in the last point, but iron deficiency anemia deserves a mention of its own.
Sadly, iron deficiency anemia is a growing epidemic around the world.
In a developed country such as the United States, nutrient deficiencies shouldn’t be a cause of death, yet anemia kills thousands every year.
To be exact, the latest release of statistics showed that Anemia hospitalized 146,000 Americans in one year. 5,219 of these people died.
Globally it’s even worse, and according to the World Health Organization, 1.62 billion people suffer from iron deficiency anemia.
One of the best health benefits of beef meat is that it contains a substantial amount of heme iron.
The best source of all? Beef liver.
Another advantage of eating beef is that it provides an abundance of carnosine.
Carnosine is an amino acid found throughout the body, and it has several important roles in human health.
As beef is one of the highest sources of carnosine (containing about 50% more than poultry), this is another health benefit.
What does carnosine do?
For one thing, carnosine has anti-glycosylation properties.
To be exact, carnosine reduces the harms of a process called ‘glycation’ which involves advanced glycation end-products (AGES).
Glycation is central to the aging process and progressively damages our body, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and various other chronic diseases.
Additionally, carnosine helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
There are many important nutrients in beef, and those present in significant amounts include the range of B vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is a notably essential nutrient, and this is because it is only available from animal foods.
This vitamin also has a wealth of benefits that include skin improvements, positive mood, better sleep, and neural regeneration.
It’s important to realise that insufficient vitamin B12 may also increase the risk of depression and mental health issues.
Fortunately, a 6oz serving of beef provides almost 100% of the recommended amount of B12.
Those most at risk from B12 deficiency are vegetarians/vegans, and these groups should supplement with the vitamin.
Otherwise known as CLA, conjugated linoleic acid is a naturally occurring trans-fat.
Don’t worry, although the “trans-fat” name is a little scary, it has a very different effect to the synthetic version.
Randomized controlled studies involving human participants suggest that;
Notably, the bulk of the evidence suggests that getting CLA from real food is better than supplementation.
Food Sources of CLA
The top sources of CLA include meat and dairy products.
After lamb and certain cheeses, beef is the next highest provider of the nutrient.
Almost everyone knows the dietary supplement version of creatine, but did you know that beef contains it too?
In fact, beef typically contains 350mg creatine per 100g.
The health benefits that creatine bring include;
It’s also worth noting that our liver can produce about 2g creatine per day, depending on the pre-cursors being available.
Creatine precursors include arginine, glycine, and methionine.
Not only are all of these amino acids present in beef, but beef is one of the single most significant dietary sources for them.
In other words, eating beef gives you a decent amount of dietary creatine, and it helps your body to produce it too.
We may hear how beef is so much more expensive than vegetables and other plant-based foods.
For some reason, these claims often compare broccoli to beef.
However, these calculations are a little disingenuous. Yes, broccoli is indeed a lot cheaper than beef per 100g.
But just how much energy does 100g provide?
200g of beef will typically provide around 550 calories, but 200g of broccoli only contains 70 calories.
This means that per 100g, beef contains eight times the amount of energy than broccoli.
It is therefore apparent: per calorie, beef is substantially cheaper than broccoli – and probably every vegetable!
This one isn’t a health benefit as such, but it could be if it encourages more home cooking.
Beef is a straightforward food to cook. It requires no lengthy recipe or complex preparation procedures.
Add a little salt, put it in the oven, and wait until done.
In an age where people claim not to have time to cook, a traditional dinner of beef and veggies is very simple and time-efficient.