Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Heart Healthy Beef

You do not need to eliminate beef to reduce fat in your diet. The American Heart Association is certifying extra-lean cuts of beef that can fit into a heart-healthy lifestyle. Retailers can display the AHA certified mark to promote the health benefits of meat and help shoppers quickly identify those meats which are low in saturated fat. More may be added but currently 7 cuts are being certified:
  • Sirloin Tip Steak
  • Bottom Round Steak
  • Top Sirloin Stir-fry
  • Top Sirloin Steak
  • Top Sirloin Kabob
  • Top Sirloin Filet
  • Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast
 Extra-lean cuts of beef are defined as a 3.5oz serving (about the size of a deck of cards) that contains less than 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol.

Lean cuts of beef are defines as a 3.5oz serving (about the size of a deck of cards) that contains less than 10g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, and 95mg cholesterol.

While the grocery store may make it easy to find heart healthy cuts of meat, there are several cuts that are notorious for being high in fat and very popular in restaurants. These cuts should be limited and consumed in smaller amounts:
  • Filet Mignon
  • Porterhouse Steak
  • Skirt steak (Flank Steak)
  • NY Strip Steak
  • T-bone Steak
  • Rib-eye (Prime Rib)
 There are many other strategies for reducing fat in beef and promoting a healthier lifestyle such as:
  • Marinate meats in vinegar, wine, or citrus juices to help tenderize the beef. Add herbs and spices to add extra flavor without adding salt
  • Look for meats labeled as “loin” or “round” as these are typically lean
  • Choose grass fed beef since it is often lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and higher in omega-3’s
  • Meats listed as “Select” or “Choice” instead of “Prime” typically has less fat
  • Choose meats with the least amount of visible fat
  • Cut off visible fat before cooking
  • Choose the lowest % of fat in ground beef
  • Drain cooked ground meat by rinsing in hot water and blotting with a paper towel
  • Eat in moderation-limit beef to 6oz at a time and not everyday
While beef can be a good source of protein, iron, zinc, B12, B6, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and selenium there are many other meat sources that are also low in fat and great sources of nutrients. Look to incorporate some of these other sources in your diet:
  • Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Pork Top Loin Chop
  • Pork Sirloin Chop
  • Skinless Turkey Breast
  • Cod
  • Light Tuna canned in water
  • Halibut
  • Salmon
As you can see beef can fit into a heart healthy lifestyle and can contribute to your overall health. Following strategies to help limit total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol can be easy especially if you look for the American Heart Association certified mark. Try replacing your usual high fat beef cuts with lower fat beef cuts and experience how easy eating healthy can be.

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