Beef is a nutrition powerhouse

Farm Forum

Lean beef is a nutrition powerhouse. It is a naturally nutrient-rich food providing 10 essential nutrients with only about 150 calories per 3-ounce serving. Lean beef packs more nutrients per bite with fewer calories, so it’s easier on the waistline than empty-calorie foods. Meeting the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate recommendations, lean beef is a great addition to a plate full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Here are just a few of the many “hidden” nutrients in lean beef, along with the multiple body benefits they provide:

• Protein: A 3-ounce serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein which is about 50% of your recommended Daily Value (DV). It plays a major role in muscle maintenance, weight management and prevention of chronic diseases.

• Selenium: As an excellent source of selenium, one 3-ounce serving of beef provides 40 percent of your daily needs. It provides antioxidant benefits, as well as enhancing the body’s ability to fight infections.

• Choline: As an essential nutrient for humans, choline plays a vital role in cognition and long- and short-term memory functions. Beef provides 16 percent of the DV for choline.

• Zinc: Beef provides 36 percent of the DV for zinc. Zinc is essential for proper growth and health and also plays a key role in building muscles and healing wounds.

• Iron: Iron helps carry oxygen in the blood to all cells and muscles to prevent fatigue. To get the same amount of iron in a 3-ounce serving of beef, you would need to eat an equivalent of three cups of raw spinach!

• Vitamin B12: Essential for proper brain and nervous system function, vitamin B12 is only naturally available from animal foods. Beef is an excellent source, providing 44 percent of the DV.

Besides tasting great, you can feel good about loving beef. Lean beef provides a simple and delicious way to meet the daily recommendations of several nutrients. It gives you the power to feel full longer, stay active longer and manage your weight. It’s a great feeling to know that the food you crave is good for you too.

For more information and beef recipes, check out the South Dakota Beef Council. In addition, see UNL Extension’s Easy Ground Beef Recipes From Your Freezer ( for quick, healthy meals in a hurry.