0617BeefHealthBenefitssr.cfm Beef has many health benefits
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Beef has many health benefits

It seems red meat is frequently given a bad reputation in the world of nutrition and health. However, there are many great things about beef according to Christeena Haynes, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"A three ounce serving of beef is an excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin. It supplies from 10 percent to 20 percent of the Daily Value for these nutrients per serving," said Haynes. "All of these nutrients play a vital role in the body."

An appropriate portion size is a 3-ounce piece of meat, which is about the size of a deck of cards.

Protein helps build bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. It is also a component of blood, enzymes, hormones, vitamins and gives the body energy.

Zinc boosts the immune system and promotes wound healing.

Phosphorus is required for the formation of healthy teeth and bones.

Iron carries oxygen in the blood to the cells and muscles, helping to inhibit fatigue as well prevent iron-deficiency anemia, which is common among teenage girls and women of child-bearing age.

Vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, and riboflavin all aid the body in the release of energy, help the nervous system function properly, and assist with the synthesis of red blood cells and tissues.

"Even with these benefits, it is important to select lean cuts of beef that are redder in color, without a lot of marbling," said Haynes.

The leanest cuts will have "loin" or "round" in the name. Ground beef should be at least 90 percent lean. 

"Be sure to include a variety of protein foods in your diet in addition to beef, such as fish, poultry, and nuts. As with all foods, remember to eat beef in moderation," said Haynes.

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