In recent decades, we’ve often heard or read that beef and red meat, in general, are unhealthy. But is it really unhealthy? In this article, we will take a closer look at beef nutrition plus healthy ground beef recipes.
Is Beef Unhealthy?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that processed meat is cancer-causing. WHO also reported, that red meat might be cancerous. On the other hand, humans have been eating different kinds of meat since the original Paleolithic Diet.
If you want to maximize your amino acids, it is wise to eat beef, pork, chicken, or if you are adventurous— the ostrich. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, so it’s important to get lots of all food-based Essential Amino Acids (EAAs).
The main issue seems to be related to how processed the meat is. One of the drawbacks compared to the past is meat is often highly processed. This involves various factors like what food to cow eats, if it’s been injected with hormones or other chemicals, etc. These factors can affect how generally or unhealthy meat is. Another issue is there does seem to be some meat that healthier than others. A big factor is related to how much-saturated fat it contains. This helps to explain WHO’s verdict on the matter.
Here are some of the main factors:
Kenya’s Masai people eat more red meat than the Standard American Diet (SAD) yet generally have good health. The difference is in the amount of processing done.
Today’s meat undergoes much more processing than the distant past. In the past, animals roamed on open lands and consumed grass and other natural foods.
It differs from cows today. As cows are raised in factors and consume grain diets. They are also injected with stuff like hormones/antibiotics.
Then processing changes the natural meat. That is because things like nitrates and preservatives are added, which makes the meat less healthy.
There’s a reason why WHO concluded that processed meat is cancer-causing. It refers to highly-processed meats like hot dogs, Vienna sausage, and Spam.
That is based on the color of the meat after it is cooked. For example, while beef looks red, chicken/turkey appears white.
After reviewing red meat it’s loaded with many nutrients including:
- Vitamin B12 (37% RDA)
- Zinc (32% RDA)
- Vitamin B3 (25% RDA)
- Selenium (24% RDA)
- Iron (12% RDA)
A serving of beef provides 20g of healthy protein and 20g of fat.
Grass-fed beef is much healthier than grain-fed beef. It provides more Vitamin A/E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Many studies have conducted regarding red meat and diseases like heart disease and diabetes. These studies show that the link between red meat and heart disease is related to whether or not it is processed.
Healthy Ground Beef Recipes
1. Cauliflower/Ground Beef Hash
This one is much lower-carb than traditional hash. Besides that, it includes lean ground beef and the superfood cauliflower.
In recent years cauliflower has become a go-to veggie for low-carb recipes. This time, it’s disguised as the hash and is bursting with nutrition and flour.
The supporting cast includes a fried egg, potatoes, onions, and cream. It’s a protein-packed meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
2. Noodle (Sweet Potato) Taco Bowl
This one is low-carb since the noodles are made of sweet potato vs. wheat flour. The other heart ingredients include beef and black beans. You’ll also get one-third of daily fiber.
Sweet potatoes aren’t low-carb. However, they’re chock-full of nutrients, including Vitamin A. If you’re doing carb-cycling, this a great dish for a pre-workout meal.
3. Ground Beef & Zucchini Enchiladas
You’ve heard of ground beef and enchiladas. But what about enchiladas with ground beef and zucchini? This dish is full of nutrients and flavor. Zucchini is one of those veggies that are super-healthy.
This recipe includes:
- Red onions
- Cheddar cheese
- Fresh cilantro
This dish is only about 220 calories per serving and is a good option, especially if you are cutting calories.
4. Meatloaf Muffins
OK, it’s not every day we hear meatloaf and muffins in the same recipe. Another plus about this one is, it’s gluten-free. Each muffin is the same size, so you no longer need to worry about portion control
5. Ground Beef & Broccoli
This dish makes it easy to add more veggies to your diet. Make sure to go with top-quality ingredients. They include fresh ground beef and fresh broccoli over frozen ones. This recipe is loaded with flavor from ingredients like:
- Red pepper flakes
- Oyster sauce
This recipe provides you with animal protein and the superfood broccoli.
Health Benefits of Red Meat
Make sure to go with lean beef (example 80%) to get the best results. Here are some of the ones you get:
The highest content is zinc at almost three-quarters of RDA and over half of the Selenium’s RDA.
This macro provides several health benefits related to bone, cartilage, and skin. Protein is also needed to build more lean muscle mass. If you are a weightlifter/bodybuilder, beef is one of the best sources of animal protein.
Like fruits and veggies, beef also contains antioxidants. Various studies show it can provide benefits like a stronger immune system, illness-prevention, lower risk of serious disease, and even longer life.
It is a key mineral found in beef since it helps to prevent iron deficiency. WHO reports that over 1.6 billion people around the world don’t consume enough iron.
There are two types of iron. Beef is very high in something called heme iron.
5. Heart Health
Doesn’t red beef cause heart disease? One big factor is how the beef is processed. Several studies show that beef can provide some benefits in terms of fighting the negative effects of inflammation and oxidation.
What in the world is it? It is a chemical compound that exists in meat. It’s quite high in beef. There’s up to 162mg in the red meat, while 7mg in cod and just 5mg in chicken breast.
L-carnitine is important for the body’s fat metabolism. The compound is important in the process of fat-burning. So, it’s critical to get enough of the stuff like in healthy ground beef recipes.