February 19th, 2019
Boost your iron intake with steak
When summer hits, few carnivores among us can resist the urge to fire up the grill and get a slab of steak sizzling over the coals. Over the years, red meat’s fat content has made it the target of a heated nutritional debate. But there are plenty of reasons to keep steak on your menu – as long as you don’t overdo it. After all, steak is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, and zinc. And as far as your iron intake is concerned, a modest portion of delicious, lean sirloin can do wonders for your diet.
As an essential mineral, iron is crucial to our bodies’ function. It’s a major component of both hemoglobin and myoglobin, the proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to our tissues and muscles from the lungs. In fact, iron plays a key role in everything from metabolism to hormone production and the basic functioning of our cells.
Even a mild lack of iron can affect your work performance and weaken your immune system. But many of us aren’t getting enough. In spite of the mineral’s vital importance to human health, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It’s also the leading cause of anemia, whose symptoms range from dizziness and pale skin to severe fatigue and impaired cognitive function.
That’s a great reason to eat more steak. Lean red meat is one of the best food sources for heme iron, the most easily digestible form of iron. Your body can absorb two to three times more iron from steak than it does from vegetable sources. Not only that, but incorporating steak into your meals actually enhances your body’s ability to process non-heme iron – the type found in most vegetables, including spinach and lentils.
To gain those nutritional benefits without overdoing your fat intake, aim for three ounces of steak per serving and choose a leaner cut of meat, such as sirloin or eye of round. Unlike T-bone steaks, which contain 14 grams of fat per three-ounce serving, sirloin will give you just eight grams. Cutting the steak into thin strips and incorporating it into a delicious salad is a great way to get your iron without putting your heart at risk.
There’s more to red meat than its fat content – so savour that steak, up your iron intake, and take full advantage of your barbecue this season.