What is beef
Beef is the culinary title for the meat obtained from matured cattle. It is one of the most widely consumed meats in the world as it fits into a lot of food recipes such as meatballs, beef burgers, crispy beef, coconut pancakes, etc. The word beef originates from the French word “Bouef” which later became beef.
Not all types of cattle are capable of producing beef; there are certain breeds of cattle suitable for the production of beef as a result of some characteristics they possess.
- Angus: Beef from this cattle tops the list of the most consumed beef due to its ability to produce high-quality carcass with a high level of marbling (fine fleek of fat that appears within the muscles of red meat) in their meat its marbling property makes the meat moist for longer when cooking. Angus beef can acquire the attributes above as a result of being bred to be robust so they can develop more muscular bodies. They are naturally polled (absence of horn), which makes it advantageous for producers because they do not have to dehorn the cattle. They are mostly red or black and are grass-fed
- Hereford: Hereford is one of the earliest British cattle, which originates in Herefordshire in southwest England. This breed of cattle is used for work for 6 to 7 years before they are fattened for consumption purposes. Their color ranges from brown to deep red. They can be easily distinguished by the presence of white colors on their face, crest, dewlap, underline, and legs. This breed of cattle is known for its good fertility and top-quality carcass which depends on the level of nutrition and management
- Gelbvieh: Gelbvieh cattle are known for their triple purpose (milk, meat, and draught). Its colour varies from black to honey. Their quiet temperament is of great advantage to producers as this makes them easy to handle, thereby reducing their stress, which could have had an effect on their carcass during the slaughtering
- Simmental: This breed of beef-producing cattle is known for its long-term fertility, good temperament, and high milk production. They have heavy and lean carcasses with a higher yield of saleable meat. Their color ranges from yellowish brown to dark red
- Limousin: This is used for draught and beef production. It is been selected for its high meat qualities with little fat. It usually has a gold colour with a lighter color on the areas such as eyes, stomach, between the thigh, tail end and muzzle
Health benefits of beef
Just like every other food has its health benefits, so is beef. Red meat is sometimes considered to have some health effects on the body. Irrespective of this, beef has health benefits that are of great advantage2. The advantages of beef are:
- Beef Helps To Improve Muscle Mass: Muscle atrophy also known as low muscle mass is a predictor of poor morbidity and mortality. Muscle atrophy may occur due to several reasons, a few of which include malnutrition, age, genetics, a lack of physical activity such as movement, and certain medical conditions. In the aspect of malnutrition, low muscle mass can be treated with the intake of protein. Protein is the building block of the muscle; therefore eating enough protein-containing foods like beef helps to promote and maintain your muscle mass and growth
- Consumption Of Beef Helps To Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia: Research has it that 146,000 Americans were hospitalized due to anemia and 5,219 of them died. The World Health Organization also has a record that says that 1.62 billion people are suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Anaemia is a health condition characterized by a lack of enough healthy red blood cells. It has been made known that iron deficiency anemia is likely to be less in people who consume meat regularly and beef is the most easily accessible source of heme-iron, iron components found only in animal flesh like meat, making meat an important food included in the diet of those prone to anemia
- Beef Helps To Support The Immune System: To support a healthy immune system you should consider a protein-based animal like beef. The presence of zinc, iron, and vitamins in beef makes it a great support and advantage to your immune system. Beef also contains some amino acids such as glutamine and arginine which are needed for a healthy immune system
- Beef Produces Amino Acids Which Are Of Great Advantage To The Body Such As:
- Glutathione: This is commonly known as the master antioxidant and it helps to protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals. Glutathione is also essential for building and repairing tissue
- Carnosine: This is an amino acid found naturally in the body (heart, brain, and other parts of the body). Carnosine is found in beef, one of the highest sources of carnosine. They help to build better muscles that are in balance and provide strength for your daily activities. It also helps to enhance healthy circulation and blood pressure volume
Beef is made up of essential nutrients for the body, which makes it appropriate for it to be included as part of the balanced diet. Research says that beef is part of a balanced diet that contains both plant and animal-sourced foods.
Nutrients found in beef are:3
Beef is a type of meat considered to be an animal protein and animal proteins are known for their attribute of being a complete protein as they provide all the essential amino acids the body needs which can only be obtained from the food.
Protein is essential for the building of bones, muscles, and cartilage, the repair of tissue, and the regulation of hormones.
As humans age, there is a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength called sarcopenia. A high intake of protein-containing food helps to lower the risk of sarcopenia.
Iron is an essential nutrient that contributes to the formation of red blood cells and the production of hemoglobin. Iron found in food is of two types namely; heme iron which is found in animal foods such as beef and fish while the other type of iron called non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
This is a source of essential fatty acids that can't be made by the body, therefore it needs to be gotten from food so it can perform its functions in your body. Fats help to absorb certain vitamins from the body. These vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E which can only be absorbed with the help of fats
Side effects and other concerns
As much as beef has its own advantages and health benefits, it also has some side effects4 that have to be looked out for while consuming beef.
Beef is red meat and it is regarded as red meat because it contains more myoglobin, a containing haem that carries and stores oxygen in muscle cells. The fact that beef is red meat is considered as being dangerous for higher consumption.
Attributes of red meat(beef) that make it disadvantageous include:
Red meats are high in saturated fats.
Saturated fat is considered an unhealthy fat made up of glycerol and fatty acids. This type of fat is often solid at room temperature. Too much consumption of food rich in saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your blood vessels. Also eating too much fat-containing food can cause you to add extra weight.
Red meat is classified as a group of carcinogens5; these are substances, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes the formation of cancer. According to the Cancer Council, consumption of more than 700 grams of red meat a week increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancer.
A high intake of beef may cause or worsen constipation because it contains little fibre which should have added bulk to stools and help them to move out as waste products. It also takes longer for fat to get digested in the body since beef red meat contains a higher amount of fat which makes it a great cause of constipation if consumed in excess.
With all of these side effects attributed to beef, you might want to consider consuming it in moderation.
Beef, which originates from the French word boeuf is the culinary name used for meat obtained from cattle. Beef is widely known and consumed. Various breeds of cattle are known for producing beef; they include Angus, Hereford, Gelbvieh, Simmental, and Limousin.
Beef is of great health benefits as it helps to improve muscle mass, prevents iron deficiency anaemia, supports the immune system, and helps to protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.
They are made up of various nutrients such as protein, which is essential for building muscles, bones, cartilage, and tissues. Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells and the production of haemoglobin. Fat helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Beef is red meat, which makes it dangerous when it is consumed in a larger portion. Beef is made up of high saturated fat, and high consumption of this causes a buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Higher consumption of beef could also be a risk factor for cancer because beef is clarified as a cancer-causing agent.
- Breeds of Cattle [Intermet]. [Cited 2023 March 16] https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/beef-cattle/breeding/beef-cattle-breeds/gelbvieh https://www.thecattlesite.com/breeds/beef/17/segmental
- Health benefits of protein [Intermet]. [Cited 2023 March 16] https://www.beefcentral.com/news/community-and-lifestyle/beef-nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-eating-beef/
- Nutrition facts of beef [Intermet]. [Cited 2023 March 16] https://www.beefresearch.ca/topics/nutritional-qualities-of-beef/
- Side effects of fats [Intermet]. [Cited 2023 March 16] https://www.mana.md/red-meat-pros-and-cons/#:~:text=Red%20meat%20can%20be%20high,also%20be%20high%20in%20cholesterol.
- Carcinogen [Intermet]. [Cited 2023 March 16] https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/1in3cancers/lifestyle-choices-and-cancer/red-meat-processed-meat-and-cancer/#:~:text=Eating%20processed%20meat%20increases%20your