Alberta Beef is one of AMA’s Backyard BBQ sponsors.
Did you know that every time you take a bite of a steak or enjoy a beef burger, you are providing your body with essential nutrients? Including lean beef as part of a balanced diet will provide what you need to build muscle, improve oxygen circulation, and even fight infections.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional benefits of beef for your whole family.
The recommended serving of cooked lean beef is about the size of a deck of cards—and gives you a whopping 26 grams of protein with only 184 calories.
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle and cells. It’s also an important part of our circulatory and immune systems. On average, adults need to consumer 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram they weigh.
Children need a bit more—around one gram of protein for each kilogram they weigh. This is because their bodies are growing, and additional protein is needed to build healthy cells and muscle.
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If you’re trying to lose weight, nutritionists recommend upping your protein and enjoying it early in your meal so that you will feel full faster and not crave sugar or other empty carbohydrates. Importantly, the protein from lean beef can help you start to build more muscle so that you can benefit from higher muscle mass which will ultimately burn more calories.
This mineral is essential for carrying oxygen in your blood—without enough of it, you’ll feel sluggish and even light physical activities can leave you out of breath. Even your cognitive functions will be affected; basic problem solving, and memory recollection will become more challenging. Anemia refers to the condition where a person has inadequate iron stores in their body, and usually results in them requiring iron supplements and, in serious cases, intravenous iron infusions.
As a child, you might have watched Popeye cartoons and believed that spinach was the ultimate source of iron. While spinach does contain plenty of iron, it is “non-heme iron” which is difficult for the body to absorb on its own. Beef provides heme iron, which is easily used by your body. Interestingly, if you combine beef with spinach–for example, in a steak salad—you can increase the iron you absorb from the spinach while also absorbing the iron in the steak!
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All members of your family need iron in their diets, and it’s especially important for babies, children, women of child-bearing age and seniors.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
While protein and iron are two shining stars of beef, you’ll find so many other essential nutrients to help build strong bodies and minds. Zinc, for example, helps the body fight infections, heal wounds, and produce hormones. Vitamin B12, which is essential for the nervous system and blood cells, is only found naturally in meat and dairy products.
While the health benefits of eating lean Alberta beef are numerous, you’ll get the best value by including it as part of an overall healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For ideas on how to get the most out of beef, check out albertabeef.org.