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Beef's Benefits

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Eat Smart Idaho, University of Idaho Extension

6 Reasons to be Pro Protein

Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide calories (the others are fat and carbohydrates). Here are a few things to consider when choosing to incorporate protein in your diet.

  1. Studies show exercise is more effective when paired with a higher-protein diet, and beef provides the amino acids necessary for building and replenishing muscles.
  2. People who eat a higher-protein diet (about 30 percent of daily calories from protein) feel more satisfied, which can prevent overeating.
  3. B vitamins found in this food group serve a variety of functions in the body. They help the body release energy, play a vital role in the function of the nervous system, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and help build tissues.
  4. Magnesium is used in building bones and in releasing energy from muscles.
  5. Zinc is necessary for biochemical reactions and helps the immune system function properly.
  6. Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their child-bearing years have iron-deficiency anemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other non-heme iron containing foods along with a food rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron.
One Delicious Protein Beef Council Image

Benefits of Beef in Your Diet

  • All lean beef cuts have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3 ½-oz cooked serving. Some cuts of beef are as lean as a 3-oz. skinless chicken thigh.
  • Research shows that including lean beef, even daily as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, improves cholesterol levels
  • A 3-oz. serving of lean beef provides the following nutrients in only about 150 calories: Protein, B12, Selenium, Zinc, Niacin, B6, Phosphorus, Choline, Iron and Riboflavin.
Beef's Big Ten Infographic

Beef’s Big 10

Do more than just get through the day — be your best every day. Here’s how beef’s essential nutrients can help.

  • Iron helps your body use oxygen.
  • Choline supports nervous system development
  • Protein helps preserve and build muscle
  • Selenium helps protect cells from damage.
  • Vitamins B6 and B12 help maintain brain function. B-vitamins in beef help give you the energy to tackle busy days.
  • Zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Phosphorus helps build bones and teeth.
  • Niacin supports energy production and metabolism.
  • Riboflavin helps convert food into fuel.

Beef gives your body more

Of the nutrients you need. A 3-oz. serving of lean beef provides the following nutrients in about 150 calories:

  • Calories: 8 percent DV
  • Protein: 48 percent DV
  • B12: 44 percent daily DV
  • Selenium: 40 percent DV
  • Zinc: 36 percent DV
  • Niacin: 26 percent DV
  • B6: 22 percent DV
  • Phosphorus: 19 percent DV
  • Choline: 16 percent AI
  • Iron: 12 percent DV
  • Riboflavin: 10 percent DV

The “daily value” percentage (aka DV) helps you determine how much of a particular nutrient a food contributes to average daily needs. Each nutrient is based on 100% of the daily requirements for that nutrient (for a 2,000 calorie diet).

AI stands for Adequate Intake. The highest AI for Choline is 550 mg.

All lean beef cuts have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3 ½-oz. cooked serving. Surprise! Some cuts of beef are as lean as a 3-oz. skinless chicken thigh.

Did You Know?

  • Don’t be left unsatisfied. A 3-oz serving of lean beef provides 25 g (about half) of the Daily Value for protein, which is one of the most satisfying nutrients.
  • Get your workout in! Exercise is more effective when paired with a higher protein diet.
  • Interested in heart health? Research shows that including lean beef, even daily as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, improved cholesterol levels.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff.

For recipes and more visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Footnotes

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural research Service, USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, 2012 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.
  • Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mittles RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008, 87:1558S-61S
  • Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, Seyler J, Erickson DJ, Boileau RA. Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr 2006;165;1903-10.
  • Symons TB, Sheffield-Moore M, Mamerow MM, Wolfe PR, Paddon-Jones D. The anabolic response to resistance exercise and a protein-rich meal is not diminished by age. J Nutr Health Aging 2011;15:376-81.
  • Roussell MA, Hill Am, Gaugler TL, West SG, Vanden Heuvel JP, Alaupovic P, Gillies PJ, and Kris-Etherton PM. Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study: Effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:9-16.

Got beef? We think you should. Check out the Idaho Beef Council for more information.

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