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The Health Benefits of Eating Red Meat

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
The Health Benefits of Eating Red Meat
A juicy steak on a plate with accoutrements. Photo Credit Irman Peter/iStock/Getty Images

You may associate red meat with a food that is off limits. Eating red meat has been discouraged because many cuts are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Red meat has a place in a healthy diet as long as you choose the right cuts of beef. Eye round roast and steak, round steak, sirloin tip roast and 95 percent ground meat all offer healthy options, or choose bison for lean red meat. Adding one or two servings of fresh or organic lean red meat to your weekly diet will supply your body with many vital nutrients.

Supplies Protein

A 3-oz. serving of red meat supplies about half the protein an average adult needs in a daily diet. The protein you get from red meat contains all the amino acids necessary to build muscle and repair tissue. Muscle mass is essential because it gives you the ability to be physically active, but it also produces enzymes and hormones that help prevent illness. Protein has also been linked to weight loss, since it satisfies hunger and keeps your satisfied for hours following your meal.

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Provides Iron

The Institute of Medicine recommends women consume 18 mg of iron each day and men consume 8 milligrams. Lean red meat supplies a good amount of iron, depending on the cut of the meat, and contains a form of iron more easily absorbed than the iron in plant-based foods. Adding red meat to your diet one or two times a week can help you consume the amount of iron your body needs for your red blood cells to transport enough oxygen to all the other parts of your body. Iron deficiencies can contribute to learning problems, low energy and behavioral issues. A 3-oz. serving of lean ground beef supplies 2.4 mg, and a serving of lean pot roast supplies 2.6 mg.

Contains Zinc

Another benefit of adding lean red meat to your diet is that it supplies a good dose of zinc. You need zinc from foods because it helps build muscle mass, strengthens your immune system and helps promote a healthy brain. The average person needs 15 mg of zinc each day. A 3-oz. portion of lean ground beef contains 5.5 mg of zinc, and a serving of sirloin steak supplies 6.2 mg.

Provides B Vitamins

Lean red meat is a natural source of many B vitamins. Eating foods that contain naturally occurring B vitamins is important because it helps promote a healthy body. Lean red meat contains B-12 for a healthy nervous system and B-6 for a strong immune system. Red meat also contains niacin, another B vitamin that aids in digestion, as well as riboflavin for healthy skin and eyes.

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