The top health benefits of beef
(BPT) - Recent diet trends encourage balancing food sources for optimal health. If you’re following the Mediterranean, Keto or Paleo diets, you’re probably aware that lean meats like beef play a vital role as part of an overall healthy eating plan, balanced with plant-based foods like vegetables and legumes.
Elsewhere in the world, however, access to high-quality sources of protein is a serious challenge. Malnutrition is a significant global public health issue, and recent data shows that countries with the lowest meat access have some of the highest rates of malnutrition. Beef plays an important role in ensuring that the world is well-nourished.
Beef provides protein
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one three-ounce serving of beef delivers approximately 25 grams of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and maintaining strength for your mind and body.
How do relatively high-protein grains compare with beef? The USDA’s Food Data Central database reports that to get the 25 grams of protein found in one 3 ounce serving of cooked beef, you would need to eat three cups of quinoa – which is more than 3 times the typical serving size for cooked quinoa of 140 grams, about ¾ cup.
Beef and iron
Another global nutrition challenge is iron deficiency, which is a concern among adolescent girls and women worldwide. A particular kind of iron called heme iron, which is critical to addressing this deficiency, is found only in animal foods like beef, not plant foods.
Here in the U.S., lean beef contributes 8% of the iron in a typical diet. At a time when many are deficient in this essential nutrient, eliminating beef could worsen the problem of iron deficiency.
Red meat is not contributing to obesity
Americans are consuming 600 more calories a day, on average, than they did 40 years ago. These extra calories are coming from refined grains, added fats and oils, not red meat. Americans, on average, eat fewer than two ounces of beef daily, which is in line with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
Our diet is already plant-based — and has become increasingly more so over the last four decades, when obesity has also increased.
Beef promotes lifelong health
The nutrients in beef promote health beginning in childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Women Infants and Children’s Program and now for the first time ever, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommend introducing solid nutrient rich foods, like beef, to infants and toddlers, in order to pack in every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline.
These nutrients continue to sustain people throughout their lives, and protein becomes especially important as people get older. Adults over 50 are at risk for losing muscle mass, which can lead to falls and frailty that affect their ability to age independently.
Balancing your diet with multiple sources of crucial nutrients, from high-quality proteins like beef along with vitamin-rich vegetables, fruit and whole grains, helps support your overall health all your life.
Learn more about beef and nutrition at BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com, managed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
As Americans think about eating for a healthy heart, many feel they’re forced to choose between a healthy diet and their love of beef. But, contrary to some misinformation on this topic, you can have both. Learn more by reading the full Medium article here.
(BPT) - A healthy diet and lifestyle are our best weapons against age-related diseases, and for staying healthy and active throughout life.
Becci Twombley is sports dietitian for USC Athletics and Angels Baseball, overseeing the nutrition of 650 collegiate athletes and the 200 MLB and minor league baseball players within the Angels organization. The healthy practices she employs to keep her athletes fighting strong also apply as preventative measures for staying fit and active as we age.
“It’s vital at any age to adopt good habits to live a long and healthy life,” says Twombley. “Exercise and move 30 minutes a day and along with that, pay attention to what you put in your body.” Twombley’s prevention plan against age-related illnesses and conditions starts with a “food first” approach.
Diet has a profound impact on two of the leading causes of age-related illnesses and conditions: inflammation and being overweight, according to Twombley. “Maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels are two of the most important things anyone can do, along with keeping one’s weight under control.”
Eating a healthy diet does not need to be a chore, she claims. It is all a question of smart choices. Picking the right foods not only makes a difference in health risks, but also positively affects performance throughout the day at work and at home. While the answer is not in a single food, or even a handful, adding nutrient-rich foods like these Twombley recommends, and calls the "All Americans" of the functional food group, is part of a winning game plan.
Pistachios are a multitasking nut that has proteins and healthy fats, as well as three types of antioxidants. Those antioxidants help to decrease blood pressure and allow for good muscle recovery. Large population studies show that people who regularly eat nuts, such as pistachios, have a substantial lower risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a heart attack. Pistachios may protect from heart disease in part by improving blood cholesterol levels. Pistachios contain relatively high levels of the amino acid L-arginine, which maintains the arteries’ flexibility and enhances healthy blood flow by boosting nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels. They’re also good for the eyes and skin, and have been found to positively promote weight maintenance.
Twombley serves tart cherry juice to her athletes after their workouts as its targeted antioxidants help with muscle recovery, improving recovery time. In addition, it boosts sleep quality to help prevent anxiety and stress later on in the day.
Plain Greek yogurt is a nutrient-packed snack that has many health benefits. High in protein, it can boost energy and muscle mass, which decreases as we age. It can also benefit digestive health if it contains probiotics. Check the label to see if it contains live and active cultures.
The deep red root vegetable increases the size of blood vessels, thereby improving the flow of oxygen that can get to muscles and tissues. For anyone with high blood pressure or suffering from cardiovascular disease, this is a good food to include.
A good hydration beverage that has protein, vitamin D and calcium like we often hear, milk also contains electrolytes for good muscle contraction.
Salmon and grass-fed beef
Both of these are high in omega-3, which is a really good healthy fat profile for overall heart health. They also decrease inflammation in the long term. Inflammation causes a lot of the diseases we fear as we age, whether it’s diabetes or cardiovascular health.
Beyond these foods Twombley identifies, the noted nutritionist has more tips for healthy eating.
* Look for different colors of foods at different times. Make sure they’re incorporated throughout the day.
* Eat often and in a good portion size.
* Shop for high quality whenever possible and pay attention to ingredients.
* Maintain balance. Make sure your plate has carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat in the correct amounts. Add fruits and vegetables to that to get the antioxidants.
* And finally, have a plan. Plan out what you’re going to eat that day and stick to it.
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