Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
Jam packed with important nutrients like protein, iron and zinc, steak can definitely be a healthy choice as long as you choose a lean cut. And with 29 lean cuts of beef out there to choose from, it shouldn't be hard to find one of this superfood that you enjoy. Wanna know what makes the beef so darn super? Check out its starring nutrients below.
This important mineral helps to carry oxygen to your brain and muscles and is an essential protein component for metabolism and maintaining overall health. One 3 oz. portion (approximately the size of your palm or an iPhone) of lean beef provides 12 percent of your daily value--three times the amount found in a cup of spinach! In order to reap the most benefits from the iron in your steak, serve it with a vitamin-C rich salad (think strawberries or bell peppers): Vitamin C helps your body more readily absorb more iron from foods. Score.
See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
Protein: If you exercise regularly (and you know we recommend to do so here at SELF), protein is an especially important nutrient for you. That's because protein helps to rebuild muscle after a workout, in addition to be a critical aid in weight loss. Most of us eat enough protein, but not at the right times. It is important to space your protein intake evenly throughout the day, as well as to eat a small snack containing proteins and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. Lean beef provides 25 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving (find out here to see your ideal intake of protein per day). A great way to work lean protein into your day with no thought required is to stash some beef jerky in your gym bag for a satisfying post-sweat-sesh snack.
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Zinc helps to boost your immune system, which is especially important this time of year. Another possible benefits for all you ladies out there? Alleviation of negative PMS effects. (How could you not love the stuff?) One 3 oz. portion of beef provides a third of your daily value--you'd have to eat 13 three-ounce portions of salmon to get the same amount of zinc; crazy, right?
Good news, sleepyheads: There may be a link between the B-vitamins (specifically thiamin, riboflavin, B-6, B-12 and folic acid) and energy levels. Also known as "micronutrients," B-vitamins help convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy. But the B's are also used for cell repair and production: Researchers at Oregon State University found that athletes who lack B-vitamins reduce their performance (at high levels) and are less able to repair damaged muscles or build muscle mass than their peers who eat a diet rich with B-vitamins. Eating a serving a beef will add between 10 and 37 percent of the recommended daily value of these nutrients.
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