Your favorite hamburger may qualify as lean meat, but only if you choose ground beef that is at least 90 percent lean and you don't add additional fats. Avoid cooking methods that need fat, such as pan frying, and don't use full-fat mayonnaise or cheese. Once you've mastered preparing a lean hamburger, you can enjoy its benefits. Hamburger is a good source of protein, iron and B vitamins that support iron's ability to keep you energized.
Plenty of Protein
Women should consume 46 grams of protein daily, while men need 56 grams, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. You'll get 22 grams of quality protein and 184 calories from a 3-ounce serving of broiled hamburger. The USDA requirements for lean meat specify that a serving must have fewer than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol. Ground beef labeled as 90 percent lean meets these specifications, but meat with a higher percentage of fat won't be lean.
Boost Energy With Iron
A large percentage of the iron in your body is found in red blood cells, where it helps carry oxygen from your lungs to tissues throughout your body. It's also a component part of enzymes that are essential for energy production. The advantage of getting iron from hamburger is that it contains heme iron, which is easy for your body to absorb. A 3-ounce serving of broiled hamburger supplies 2.3 milligrams of iron. Men and postmenopausal women only need 8 milligrams of iron daily. Premenopausal should consume 18 milligrams daily due to blood loss during menstruation, which depletes iron. During pregnancy, iron requirements go up to 27 milligrams to support mom and baby.
Healthy Red Blood Cells With B-12
Iron won't have much success carrying oxygen if your red blood cells are unhealthy. Lack of vitamin B-12 impacts the development of red blood cells. When you don't get enough in your diet, DNA synthesis is impaired, which results in immature red blood cells that don't contain enough hemoglobin. Since hemoglobin is the iron-containing part of a red blood cell, low blood levels of vitamin B-12 may cause megaloblastic anemia, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. You'll get 2 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 83 percent of your recommended dietary allowance, from a 3-ounce serving of hamburger.
Vitamin B-6 for More Support
A second nutrient that supports iron and healthy red blood cells is vitamin B-6. This vitamin forms a coenzyme that is essential for the synthesis of the heme in hemoglobin. Vitamin B-6 dependent enzymes also affect the ability of hemoglobin to pick up and release oxygen, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. A 3-ounce serving of broiled hamburger delivers 0.34 milligram of vitamin B-6, or 26 percent of your recommended dietary allowance.
- USDA Nutrient Database: Beef, Ground, 90 Percent Lean Meat -– 10 Percent Fat, Patty, Cooked, Broiled
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- K-State Research and Extension: Go Lean With Protein
- Beef Retail Marketing: What Does "Lean" Mean?
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin B-12
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin B-6