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A Passionate Voice


Even at an early age, Cheryl Day was a passionate and practical advocate for agriculture. Check out her viewpoint on current agricultural topics.

Go Red with Beef

Feb 04, 2011

Today, February 4 is National WEAR RED DAY to create awareness and gain support to educate women and fund research by the American Heart Association. Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women. The American Heart Association list Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke, High Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol as major health risk factors.  

The most important dietary advice people can follow to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer is to follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend a nutrient-rich, balanced diet from all five food groups.

Consuming beef is not a normal selection in getting fit but 29 naturally nutrient-rich lean cuts of beef, government approved, could change your mind. In the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines,  a 5-7 oz daily is recommended from the Meat and Bean Group. 
If you take a closer look at the actual nutritional value of beef, I think you will be pleasantly surprise the amount of essential nutrients you can receive from one serving of beef. In addition, beef can keep you on track when trying to manage your weight.  

Vitamins and Mineral

Beef is enriched with essential Vitamins and Minerals including Zinc, Iron, and B Vitamins.  
Zinc is key component in a healthy immune system, energy metabolism during physical activity, building muscles, and has been found to improve cognitive development. One serving of beef provides 38 percent of the daily recommended dose of zinc.
Iron helps carry oxygen form the lungs to vital organs and muscles. Iron is the third most abundant food source of iron and three ounces of lean beef provides almost 15 percent of the daily recommended value of iron.
B Vitamins are essential in converting food you eat into energy to fuel activity. One three-ounce serving can provide 37 percent of B12 and 15 percent of B6.
Beef is well known for it is excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein is fundamental for normal growth and development, building muscle mass, repairing wounds, and providing energy. In addition, Protein is necessary for weight management. Protein-rich food choices are more satisfying than carbohydrate-filled foods and increase metabolism while building muscles. 

Beef a fatty food?

I know what you are thinking, Beef contains too much fat and I only consume a steak for a special treat. I would challenged you to look take a closer look at fat. Not all fat is created equally. There is good fat and bad fat.  


Healthy fats
Harmful fats
Monounsaturated fat
Saturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fat
Trans Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids
Dietary cholesterol


Beef’s breakdown of fat
  • About half of the fatty acids in beef are monounsaturated fat
  • Only 40 percent of fat is saturated. One-third of beef’s  saturated fat is “stearic” acid which has shown to have little impact of blood cholesterol levels in humans.
[Stearic acid is a saturated fat that's mainly in animal products. It's also in some plant foods like chocolate. It's very stable in storage and during frying. A relatively large percentage of stearic acid consumed is converted to oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat). Stearic acid is used to form margarines, shortenings, spreads, and as a cream base for baked products. Even though stearic acid is a saturated fat, studies have suggested that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels, because such a high proportion is converted to oleic acid. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4747
  • Polyunsaturated fat, also found in beef, Is necessary for cell structure and producing hormones.
A great breakdown of the various fats in beef and other meat sources can be found on the Beef Nutrition's Website:

Beef and Chronic Diseases

I know, I know! You have heard from the media and other anti-animal groups that red meat can cause Cancer.  An independent scientific review could not find any conclusive evidence to those claims. 
“An independent scientific review of the existing epidemiological research found no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between red meat and any of the cancers studied (breast cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer). Furthermore, the findings and recent published studies are further evidence that the most important dietary advice people can follow to decrease cancer risk are the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, which recommend a nutrient-rich, balanced diet from all five food groups. A healthy diet as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods within and among all food groups, such as: colorful fruits and vegetables; whole, fortified and enriched breads, pastas and cereals; low- and nonfat milk, cheese and yogurt; and lean meats, including lean beef, pork, poultry, eggs, fish and beans.”

Not into the Details?

Bottomline: A 3-ounce serving of lean beef (154 Calories) contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet yet it supplies more than 10% of the Daily Value:
  • 48% Protein
  • 41% Selenium
  • 37% B12
  • 33% Zinc
  • 25% Niacin
  • 20% B6
  • 19% Phosphorus
  • 17% Chlorine
  • 12% Iron
  • 10% Riboflavin
Beef is a Powerhouse Food Source. Even if I did not produce beef, [as mom] I would serve it to my family just for the muscle building and cognitive development abilities alone.  I proud to proclaim “I LOVE BEEF” and join my fellow beef producers in participating in I LOVE BEEF month.
I hope the evidence I unlocked will help you in making one of the 29 Lean Cuts of Beef a part of your balance diet. Remember portion control and everything in moderation is the key to a health lifestyle.


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