Commonly used in soups and cooking, beef broth provides you with some beneficial nutrients, is low in calories and can make certain cuisine more palatable. Because beef broth is high in sodium, however, use it in moderation to help reduce your risks for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Ready-to-serve beef broth only contains 17 calories per cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. In comparison, 1 cup of cream of onion soup contains about 186 calories. Therefore, if you're trying to control your total calorie intake to achieve – or maintain – a healthy body weight, beef broth is an excellent choice. Many moderately active women require about 2,000 calories daily, while moderately active men often need about 2,500 calories per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
A Pinch of Protein
Most of the calories in beef broth are from dietary protein. Although beef is rich in dietary protein, however, beef broth is not a high-protein food. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of ready-to-serve beef broth provides almost 3 grams of protein. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams per day for women, notes the Institute of Medicine.
Other Essential Nutrients
Although beef broth provides few essential nutrients, it is a source of dietary potassium and niacin -- containing 130 milligrams of potassium and about 2 milligrams of niacin in each 1-cup portion. The Institute of Medicine notes the RDA for niacin is 14 milligrams daily for women and 16 milligrams per day for men, and the RDA for potassium is 4,700 milligrams daily for both men and women.
Beef broth is a high-sodium food, which can cause problems for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of ready-to-eat beef broth contains 893 milligrams of dietary sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests adults limit sodium intake to 1,500 or 2,300 milligrams per day, depending on their age, ethnicity and chronic disease risks. Try replacing regular beef broth with a low-sodium chicken broth, which contains just 72 milligrams of sodium per cup.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Soup, Beef Broth or Bouillon Canned, Ready-to-Serve
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Soup, Cream of Onion, Canned, Prepared with Equal Volume Milk
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Vitamins
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Soup, Chicken Broth, Low Sodium, Canned