Beef is a versatile red meat protein that can be cooked and enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Did you know…
- Beef is a red meat and also a top source of vitamin B12.
- Consuming beef in moderation (3 ounces per serving) provides important essential nutrients that can contribute to a healthy diet.
Health Benefits of Beef
- Beef is an excellent source of protein. A 3-ounce serving of cooked lean beef provides around 22 grams of protein.
- Beef offers an array of important nutrients including iron, choline, vitamin B6 and B12, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, riboflavin and selenium.
- Consuming unprocessed beef products (no additives) is the best for health.
Lean Cuts of Beef
Because they are lower in saturated fat, lean or extra lean cuts of beef are heart-healthier options.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines “lean” as 100 grams (approx. 3.5 ounces) of beef with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
It defines “extra lean” as 100 grams of beef with less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
There are 36 beef cuts that meet lean guidelines and are included in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database. Of these, the following are considered extra lean:
- Eye of round roast and steak
- Sirloin tip side steak
- Top round roast and steak
- Bottom round roast and steak
- Top sirloin steak
- Ground beef, 96% lean
Healthy Cooking with Beef
Beef can be incorporated into a variety of recipes and cooked in different ways to optimize flavor.
- For safety, the USDA recommends cooking hamburgers and other ground beef to 160 °F and cooking beef steaks and roasts to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
- Allowing meat to rest for a few minutes after cooking will help prevent the juices from leaking out when cutting, keeping the meat moist.
- Braising is a great technique for cooking less-tender cuts of meat, making them juicy and fork-tender.
- The key to braising is cooking the beef in a small amount of liquid over low heat for several hours. Many braising recipes also include vegetables and aromatics such as garlic or onions.
- When grilling, avoid heavily charring the meat. This can produce carcinogens.