For some people, there are few meals more satisfying and joy-inducing than a juicy steak cooked to perfection. However, there are many who also claim that regularly eating red meat can be bad for your health.
Is Eating Steak Good For Health?
The question of whether something is good or bad for you is often a question of moderation and consumption patterns. In the case of red meat, which typically includes pork and beef, there are a number of good qualities and bad qualities; finding a healthy balance is key.
One of the most important things to note about eating beef is that it is extremely nutrient-dense.
- In a single six-ounce steak, you can get impressive amounts of various B vitamins, which can be difficult to access in plant-based foods, as well as phosphorous, selenium, zinc, iron and potassium. These are all essential nutrients the body requires on a daily basis, and their concentration in steak and other red meat is notable.
- Steak contains high levels of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats, the latter of which are beneficial to the body and can help to reduce cardiovascular disease, while the former when consumed in moderation, is not as bad for long-term health as artificial fats (i.e., trans fats).
- Most people point to the high protein content in red meat as one of the best reasons to consume it, and it’s hard to deny this logic. Beef is a complete protein, meaning that it provides all the amino acids the body requires to produce other, more functional proteins. This can aid in building muscle and ensuring that our body’s natural metabolic processes run smoothly.
As mentioned earlier, the positive aspects of this popular meat can easily be eliminated when it is consumed in excess.
- While your body can handle a surge in saturated fat and cholesterol from the occasional steak, LDL cholesterol, and negative saturated fats can quickly get out of control if you are eating bacon and steak every day of the week. This can easily lead to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and other common conditions associated with obesity.
- Furthermore, there is a substance in red meat, L-carnitine, which can increase cancer risk once it is broken down by gut bacteria. Lean red meat is a much better choice if you want to regularly include red meat in your diet.
- Also, the manner in which the meat is cooked and eaten also has an effect on its overall impact. Numerous studies have found an increased risk of cancer linked to regular consumption of red meat and steak, primarily because it is cooked at such high temperatures, which produces carcinogens. This is particularly true for cooking methods like barbecuing and frying. A study published in Cancer Letters found a direct link between human cancer development and heterocyclic amines, one of these carcinogens produced in overcooked beef. Essentially, the safety of red meat depends on how you cook it, and how often you eat it.
- Furthermore, processed or artificial meat tends to be more dangerous than raw meat you prepare yourself. While some of the proteins and minerals (e.g., heme iron) derived from the steak are more nutritionally efficient than plant-based foods, that isn’t evidence that steak should be a daily part of your diet.
Here are two great recipes for lean red meat dishes that are prepared in a healthier way, without losing that delicious flavor!
Florentine Steak Recipe
- 1 porterhouse steak (bone-in), roughly 1.5 lbs.
- Olive Oil (1/8 cup)
- Lemon Wedges
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Step 1: Heat a gas grill to high for 2-3 minutes
- Step 2: Coat the steak with half the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Step 3: Grill on high for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway through
- Step 4: Baste the steak with the rest of the oil, using the rosemary to apply to oil
- Step 5: Cook for another 4-6 minutes, until your cook temperature, is right (medium, medium rare, etc.)
- Step 6: Let the steak sit, uncut for 4-5 minutes
- Step 7: Slice along the bone into thin strips
- Step 8: Serve with lemon wedge and rosemary as garnish
Grilled Steak Kabobs Recipe
- 2 pounds of sirloin steak (cubed)
- 1 onion (sliced into kabob-shaped squares)
- 2 bell peppers (red/yellow, sliced similar to onion)
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon of ginger (diced)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Step 1: Add all marinade ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly
- Step 2: Add the cubed steak pieces to the marinade and coat thoroughly
- Step 3: Let the steak marinate for 3-4 hours in a covered bowl in the fridge
- Step 4: In a separate bowl, mix the sliced vegetables, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- Step 5: Begin assembling the kabobs on skewers, alternating vegetables, and steak
- Step 6: Heat the grill to medium
- Step 7: Cook skewers over heat for 12-15 minutes, until the steak is fully browned and vegetables are cooked
- Step 8: Allow the kabobs to sit for 3-4 minutes before serving