We commonly hear about the not so great health benefits of beef. Red meat receives a lot of flack for heart issues and how it shouldn’t be eaten too often, but there are also several great health benefits of beef as well. Our article dives into the different benefits of eating beef from ground beef to steak.
One thing that vegetarians and vegans are missing out on is the various vitamins and minerals that are commonly found in fresh, lean beef. These are just some of the health benefits of beef, and we’ll go into detail about each one offered in this delicious option.
- Iron: Found in red meat such as beef, iron is one of the best kinds for absorption and is necessary for your body to function properly. Anemia, which is a lack of iron in your body, can have very serious negative side effects including fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, dry and damaged hair and skin, swelling of the tongue, restless legs, brittle fingernails, anxiety, and even cold hands and feet. Anemia can potentially be very dangerous, which is why iron is such an important mineral to have in the body. With once or twice weekly red meat consumption, your body will be able to absorb iron easily and keep levels up.
- Zinc: This is a mineral that helps with body growth and maintenance, and beef generally has very high levels of it, which are then absorbed after you eat the meat. This mineral is not stored in the body, therefore it is important to regularly consume it in your diet. Only small amounts are necessary for health, however, a zinc deficiency could lead to several unpleasant side effects including loss of appetite, impaired immune function, skin lesions, hair loss, and it can even affect your growth.
- Vitamin B12: Another essential to a healthy body, our bodies need this vitamin but can’t produce it on their own. It’s found in higher quantities in beef, and it has many benefits. It helps with red blood cell formation, much like iron, and supports the normal function of nerve cells. You may also find that you get an energy boost, improved memory, and are better protected against heart disease when you have sufficient amounts of it in your system. This is especially important for pregnant women as it may help prevent birth defects.
- Selenium: This is not an as well known health benefit of beef, but Selenium is very important to have in your diet. There are only small amounts needed, but it plays a major role in body functions, including metabolic and thyroid functions. It also is an antioxidant, which helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, as well as reduce your risk of certain cancers. Selenium may also help protect against heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and even asthma. Thanks to its inflammatory reducing qualities, this may help if you suffer from asthma and even help with other areas of inflammation in the body.
- Niacin: Another B vitamin, Niacin has many health benefits and is usually found in beef. You may also know of this vitamin as Vitamin B3, which is very important to your body in order to function properly. However, this is one that you don’t want to have large doses of either, but instead, you need to find a happy medium. Niacin deficiency can include symptoms of memory loss, fatigue, depression, skin problems, headache, and stomach issues, however, deficiency of this vitamin is very rare, especially in Western countries thanks to our varied diets. However, if you’re concerned about getting enough, there are benefits to it as well. It lowers LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” kind. It can also lower triglycerides, help prevent heart disease, boost brain function, and even help reduce symptoms of arthritis. One serving of beef gives you 33% of your recommended dose each day.
- Vitamin B6: We’re seeing a trend with these necessary B vitamins and them being available in larger doses in beef. Having enough of this in your diet may help with your mood and reduce symptoms of depression, if that’s something you suffer from, help prevent Alzheimer’s risk, help with anemia, which is also tackled with iron and Vitamin B12, which are also very commonly seen in beef. It may also help with nausea during pregnancy, and help reduce the symptoms of PMS. Not only that, but Vitamin B6 is beneficial for potentially helping to protect against certain cancers, prevent eye diseases, and prevent clogged arteries and therefore heart disease. With so many benefits to consuming this vitamin, beef is a great way to get it in your diet in a way that tastes great.
- Phosphorus: This mineral is essential for filtering waste and repairing cells, and beef is a great source of it. It can help with managing energy, producing DNA, maintaining a regular heartbeat, reducing muscle pain after exercise, and even assisting in muscle contraction.
All of these health benefits of beef are essential to living a healthy life, and while there are certainly some drawbacks to red meat, as seen by our list of benefits, they are also very beneficial to your body. With all the potential good there, red meat is important to have in your diet in moderation, with a focus on adding it in here and there rather than creating your meals around it.