Red meat has an unfair status as an unhealthy food. Although it is true that steak has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, it is also a good source of protein and many important nutrients. Protein is important to repair tissues, build lean muscle mass, give structure to skin and act as a backup source of energy when carbohydrates and fat are not available.
Although steak adds beneficial protein to your diet, it also contains harmful saturated fat and cholesterol. These damaging compounds raise the levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) in your blood. This increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is therefore important to keep your saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of your total calories.
Red meat is a great source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and other B-Vitamins. Different cuts of meat differ in their nutrient profiles:
- Prime rib is high in niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.
- Top round steak contains more vitamin B12 and riboflavin, but lower amounts of niacin and vitamin B6.
Red meat is a good source of various minerals, including iron, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
- Top round steak is high in selenium and zinc and contains moderate amounts of phosphorus and iron.
- Prime rib contains high amounts of selenium and zinc in addition to a moderate amount of phosphorus and a low amount of iron. Selenium aids enzyme function, while phosphorus and zinc play a role in cell metabolism. Iron transports oxygen through the blood.
The best way to cook steak
Do you like your steak rare, medium or well-done? Cooking steak may never be a problem with these helpful tips.
- Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat before adding the steak (this seals the surface, trapping in juices).
- Rather than oiling the pan, brush the steak with oil to prevent it sticking.
- Cook a 2cm-thick piece of steak for 2-3 minutes each side for rare, 4 minutes each side for medium, and 5-6 minutes each side for well-done.
- Turn the steak only once using tongs.
- Transfer steak to a plate, cover with foil and set aside for 3-5 minutes to rest. This allows the juices to settle and the muscle fibres to relax, which ensures the steak is tender.
For more tips on cooking and recipes, go here.