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Lean Beef – Adding Flavor to Heart Health

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Most people are concerned with heart health, and rightly so. One in three American adults suffers from heart disease. Many adults turn to the recommendations they’ve heard over and over again in an attempt to keep their tickers as healthy as possible. Advice like “Cut the salt!” and “Watch those fats!” holds true today. However, one heart-health recommendation has changed with new research. Heat up the grill and pop open the red wine because instead of hearing “No red meat!”, you’ll now hear dietitians encouraging the consumption of lean beef as part of a healthy diet.

The BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study is one reason for new viewpoints on beef. This study compared the consumption of 4 ounces of lean beef daily to the gold standard of heart-healthy eating, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Researchers wanted to compare the effect that each diet would have on cholesterol. Both diets contained a similar mix of nutrients, including less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, but the BOLD diet contained 4 ounces of lean beef each day while the DASH diet limited red meat. At the end of the study, it was clear that BOTH diets lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol in participants by 10%, providing evidence that beef may not be as bad for cholesterol and heart health as once thought.

Advancements in science may also change the way consumers view beef in general. For starters, cattle farmers are raising beef that is leaner than it was fifty years ago. We also know that over half the fat in beef is actually monounsaturated fat. This is the same type of heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. Nutrient density is another reason to sing the praises of beef. Beef is packed with protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other nutrients important for good health. A person would have to eat 670 calories in peanut butter to get the same amount of protein in 150 calories of lean beef.

Americans are learning how to balance their meals for overall health. This is due in part to the development of MyPlate, the USDA’s tool that teaches healthy eating to Americans. MyPlate is a simple tool that helps consumers visualize each meal as a plate. Ideally, each meal would be comprised of a plate containing 1/4 lean meat or protein, 1/4 whole grains, 1/2 fruits and vegetables and a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy on the side. Following this method helps consumers incorporate lean beef in a heart-healthy way.

Now that you’re convinced lean beef can fit into a heart-healthy diet, this meat will be easy to find when you hit the supermarket because there are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for “lean,” including T-bone, tenderloin, top sirloin and 95%-lean ground beef. One handy trick to identifying lean beef is to look for the words “loin” and “round” in the name. Your Hy-Vee dietitian can also help you identify lean cuts. Lean cuts are easy to prepare. Consider heart-healthy cooking methods that don’t add extra fat. Here’s a simple and delicious way to pan-broil top sirloin beef. Serve with steamed green beans, a small baked sweet potato, whole grain dinner roll and fat-free milk for a heart-healthy meal.

3 Easy Steps to Pan-Broil a Top Sirloin Steak

Stovetop skillet cooking is ideal for cooking a tender, juicy top sirloin steak during the winter months.

  • Step 1: Heat heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Remove steak from refrigerator and season as desired, such as with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Place steak in preheated skillet, don’t add water or oil and leave uncovered.
  • Step 3: Pan-broil top sirloin steak 12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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