Beef, in general terms, is the meat of bovines, especially domestic cattle like cows. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of Australia, Europe and America, and is also important in Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia cuisine. The domestication of cattle occurred around 8000 BC, providing ready access to beef, milk and leather. Cattle were widely used across the Old World (where they originated), for draft animals (oxen), milk production, or meat production, depending on local needs and resources. They were brought to central and south America by the Spanish conquistadors who invaded these regions. Today, beef is eaten almost all over the world. It is rich in the polyunsaturated fat called CLA (short for conjugated dienole linoleic acid). Aresearch at Purdue University, in 1993 and 1996, showed that CLA slows or reverses skin, breast, and stomach cancers in laboratory rats and mice, at all three stages of tumor development. CLA may also prevent Type II diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes, a non-insulin-dependent form of the disease. Read on to know more about the health benefits of eating beef.
Health Benefits of Eating Beef
- Lean beef is a very good source of protein, providing 64.1% of the daily value of the nutrient, in just 4 ounces.
- It serves as a good source of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, needed by the body to convert the potentially dangerous chemical homocysteine to benign molecules.
- Diets high in vitamin B12-rich foods, but low in fat are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
- Organic beef is a good source of selenium and zinc. The selenium present in lean beef is needed for the proper function of glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant that reduces the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lean beef is a good source of zinc, which is helpful for preventing the damage to blood vessel walls, which can contribute to atherosclerosis and is also needed for the proper functioning of immune system.
- Grass-fed beef is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to reduce risk of heart disease. It does not raise total blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels as well.
- 3-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of protein, zinc, and B-complex vitamins.Protein helps in building a strong and muscular body, while zinc helps create a healthy immune system and heal wounds.
- Beef is rich in phosphorous and iron. Phosphorous is necessary for strong teeth and bones and Iron helps carry oxygen in the blood, to all cells and muscles and prevents fatigue.
- Beef contains cholesterol and saturated fats that can increase risk of heart diseases.
- It can increase risk of certain cancers, like rectum and colon cancer.
- Improperly cooked beef can lead to certain food-borne diseases. It can even be contaminated with bacteria, parasites and viruses.
- The cattle in the United States are routinely given antibiotics to protect them from infection. In some rare cases, people sensitive to penicillin or tetracycline may have an allergic reaction after eating their meat, although this is rare.
- Add beef cubes to your favorite vegetables, brush them with a little olive oil, and grill.
- If you wish to grill beef, enjoy it with a healthy serving of Cole slaw, lightly steamed cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale or cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables greatly increase the body's ability to detoxify the heterocyclic amines present in beef.
- Coat beef steaks with crushed peppercorns before cooking them, to create the classic dish, steak au poivre.
- Sauté thin slices of steak with onions, garlic, fresh basil, lemongrass and chili peppers, for a Southeast Asian-inspired meal.
- Serve thinly slice cooked tenderloin on toasted whole wheat French bread. Enjoy these open faced sandwiches topped with roasted peppers and onions.