Lean Beef Explained

Iron

Consuming lean meat boosts your intake of iron, a nutrient important for healthy red blood cells. Your red blood cells require hemoglobin — an iron-containing pigment protein that gives your blood its color — to carry oxygen. If you don’t get enough iron from your diet, you might develop anemia due to an inability to make functional red blood cells. Iron also makes up a component of myoglobin, a protein that stores oxygen in your muscle cells. A 3-ounce serving of 95 percent lean ground beef or eye of round roast beef contains 2 milligrams of iron — 11 percent of the recommended daily iron intake for women and 25 percent of the RDA for men, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Vitamin B-12

The vitamin B-12 found in lean beef also aids in red blood cell production, playing an important role in hemoglobin synthesis. It also affects other tissues, facilitating neurological function and aiding in fat and protein metabolism. A 3-ounce serving of eye of round roast beef provides 1.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 28 percent of your recommended daily intake, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. For a richer source of B-12, opt for 95 percent lean ground beef, which offers 2.2 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per 3-ounce serving, or 92 percent of the RDA.

Coenzyme Q10

Reach for lean ground beef as a source of coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant. Coenzyme Q10 protects your cells from harmful free radicals formed as a byproduct of your metabolism and environmental toxins, helping to prevent damage to your cell membranes, proteins and DNA. It also supports your metabolism — your mitochondria, the “batteries” that produce energy that power your cells, rely on coenzyme Q10 to function. Although your body also produces coenzyme Q10 to meet its needs, adding lean beef to your diet boosts your intake of the nutrient.


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