A decade or two ago, our parents and grandparents regarded beef as a nutritious and healthy food. But and now? Nowadays it is very different, and the opinion is divided between people who think meat is healthy and people who think meat is harmful to our health.
Some of the most extreme vegan views require authorities to remove meat from the food supply.
Whatever our opinion of red meat, there are some important health benefits of eating beef.
This article closely examines 11 of them.
Beef provides a great source of L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid in meat products.
In the table below we can see the L-carnitine content of beef compared to some other animal foods and vegetable foods:
Benefits of Beef
Why is L-Carnitine important?
Benefits of Beef
Among other functions, L-carnitine plays a role in fat metabolism. As part of this, L-Carnitine does the job of transporting fats to our mitochondria to burn.
It is important to clarify that our body can synthesize sufficient amounts of L-carnitine for general needs; This makes it a nonessential amino acid.
The body synthesizes L-carnitine in the liver and the process depends on the amino acids L-lysine and L-methionine. As a result, deficiencies are rare.
However, research suggests that a higher intake of L-carnitine may have some positive health impacts.
Several studies show the following findings:
A meta-analysis of randomized trials suggests that L-carnitine improves patient outcomes. Specifically, it has an effect on hypertension, oxidative stress, nitric oxide, and inflammation.
An additional 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 increased L-carnitine intake in patients with type 2 diabetes improves fasting blood glucose levels and the overall cholesterol profile.
According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials, people with L-carnitine supplementation lost “significantly more weight” than the control group.
It is worth noting that while there are many L-carnitine supplements, the absorption rate is low compared to beef. In fact, our body only absorbs about 14-18% of the synthetic form of the nutrient.
- Beef provides the “Antioxidant Master” glutathione
Benefits of Beef
Commonly known as the main antioxidant, several researches associate glutathione with:
- Anti Aging Benefits
- Increased longevity
- Disease prevention
- Reducing the risk of chronic disease
- Strengthening of the immune system
It helps protect every cell in our body from cell damage, which can lead to many chronic diseases.
On the other hand, a glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation.
As a result, keeping glutathione levels high is important to our overall health.
The question is, how can we keep our glutathione levels high?
Endogenous glutathione production and food sources
Firstly, our body produces glutathione endogenously. In other words, our body uses raw materials (in this case: amino acids) to produce glutathione. For this process to occur, we must have adequate levels of amino acids cysteine, glutamate and glycine. These amino acids are known as glutathione precursors and each of these amino acids is present in beef.
On the plus side, meat also contains a reasonably high source of complete (preformed) dietary glutathione.
- Beef is high in protein and helps to improve muscle mass.
There are numerous reasons why we should strive to ensure sufficient protein intake and these include;
Protein is the building block that our body uses to repair and produce bone, skin and cartilage.
Enough proteins help us build and maintain lean muscle mass.
Of all macronutrients, protein is the one that most generates satiety and reduces the desire to eat.
Beef is full of health-promoting amino acids and is one of the largest sources of protein in the human diet.
For example, a 170 g portion of 80% lean beef provides 46 g of protein.
We should opt for a leaner variety of meat because the protein content may be even higher.
The Importance of Lean Mass
As we get older, building – or at least maintaining – a lean mass should be a priority. Research shows that older adults with lower muscle mass have a higher risk of mortality. To put it bluntly, the more skeletal muscle mass is lost as we get older, the greater the risk of dying earlier.
In addition, the rate of muscle protein synthesis drops rapidly as we get older, making it much harder to build and maintain muscle.
Considering this, we must ensure that we are eating enough protein – this is especially essential for older people.
Beef is extremely rich in minerals
If you are looking to increase your intake of various minerals, then beef is one of the best options to consider.
Firstly, meat is relatively rich in mineral nutrients.
Here we can see the mineral content of 80% lean meat:
Benefits of Beef
As shown in the table, beef provides more than half of the recommended daily amount of selenium and zinc. Many people have disability issues with some of these minerals. Thus, the nutritional value of beef can help combat the prevalent global deficiencies in iron, magnesium and zinc.
Eating beef helps prevent iron deficiency anemia
We addressed mineral deficiencies in the last point, but iron deficiency anemia deserves a mention of its own. Unfortunately, iron deficiency anemia is a growing epidemic worldwide.
In a developed country, such as the United States, nutritional deficiencies should not be a cause of death, and anemia kills thousands each year. To be sure, the latest statistics showed that anemia hospitalized 146,000 Americans in a year; 5,219 of these people died.
Globally, it is even worse, and according to the World Health Organization, 1.62 billion people suffer from iron deficiency anemia.
Heme and Non-Heme Iron
There are two types of iron available in foods, and we refer to them as heme and non-heme iron.
Heme Iron: Heme iron is the most bioavailable form of iron, and meat and other animal foods contain it exclusively.
Non-Heme Iron: Non-heme iron is found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. Compared to heme iron, it is harder to absorb into the body.
One of the best health benefits of beef is that it contains a substantial amount of heme iron.
The best source of all? Beef liver.
Interestingly, anemia disproportionately affects women. Perhaps this is not a big surprise when we think about how society seems to embarrass women who eat meat.
Beef contains Carnosine, a potent amino acid
Another advantage of eating meat is that it provides a large amount of carnosine.
Carnosine (beta-analyl-L-histidine) is an amino acid found throughout the body and has several important roles in human health.
As beef is one of the largest sources of carnosine (containing about 50% more than poultry meat), this is another health benefit.
What does carnosine do?
On the one hand, carnosine has anti-glycosylation properties. To be exact, carnosine reduces the damage of a process called “glycation” that involves advanced glycation end products (AGES).
Glycation is critical to the aging process and progressively harms our body, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and various other chronic diseases.
In addition, carnosine helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. The amino acid also helps to prevent lipid peroxidation within our cells.
Beef is full of vitamins
There are many important nutrients in beef, and those in significant quantities include the B-vitamin range.
In addition, meat also contains smaller amounts of vitamins E and K.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is an essential nutrient, and this is because it is available only from animal foods. This vitamin also has many benefits that include skin improvements, positive mood, improved sleep and neural regeneration.
It is important to realize that vitamin B12 deficiency can also increase the risk of depression and mental health problems.
Fortunately, a 170 gram serving of beef provides almost 100% of the recommended amount of B12. Those most at risk for B12 deficiency are vegetarians / vegans, and these groups should supplement with the vitamin.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Known as CLA, conjugated linoleic acid is a naturally occurring trans fat. Don’t worry, although the name “trans fat” is a little scary, it has a very different effect on the synthetic version.
Controlled studies involving human participants suggest that;
Conjugated Linoleic Acid Helps Improve Insulin Sensitivity
CLA seems to promote fat loss
Notably, most evidence suggests that getting CLA from food is better than supplementation.
CLA Food Sources
Main sources of CLA include meat and dairy products.
After lamb and certain cheeses, beef is the next largest supplier of this nutrient.
Although all beef contains CLA, pasture meat offers significantly more meat than feedlot meat.
Specifically, the average amount of CLA in grass-fed meat is 0.46% of the fat content. With meat produced in confinement, this average content drops to 0.16% fat.
Beef contains creatine, which improves performance
Almost everyone knows the creatine dietary supplement version, but did you know that meat also contains this nutrient?
In fact, meat usually contains 350 mg of creatine per 100 g.
The health benefits that creatine includes:
Best exercise performance
Creatine aids muscle growth and development
Provides muscles with a greater energy supply and improves endurance
Increased muscle size
It is also worth noting that our liver can produce about 2 g of creatine per day, depending on the precursors available. Creatine precursors include arginine, glycine and methionine. Not only are all these amino acids present in beef, but meat is one of their most significant dietary sources.
In other words, eating beef provides a good amount of dietary creatine, and helps your body produce too.
Beef is very affordable
We can hear how much more expensive beef is than vegetables and other herbal foods. For some reason, these claims often compare broccoli with beef.
However, these calculations are a bit false. Yes, broccoli is actually much cheaper than beef per 100g. But how much power does 100g offer? 200g of beef will usually provide about 550 calories, but 200g of broccoli contains only 70 calories.
This means that for 100 g, meat contains eight times as much energy as broccoli. It is therefore apparent: by calorie, meat is substantially cheaper than broccoli – and probably all vegetables.
Beef is very simple to prepare
This is not a health benefit exactly, but it can be if you encourage more home cooking. Meat is a food that can be cooked directly. It does not require any lengthy prescriptions or complex preparation procedures.
Add a little salt, put in the oven and wait until ready. At a time when people claim to have no time to cook, a traditional meat and vegetable dinner is very simple and time efficient.