Steak is delicious. But as adults, we tend to learn that the most enjoyable things in life aren’t always the best for us. Is steak a victim of this harsh truth? Is it ok to enjoy a good steak, or can it be unhealthy?
The answer is a little complicated, but we’ll skip to the good news; most people can enjoy a steak on a regular basis without any negative health reactions.
The truth is that red meat comes with a lot of health benefits. There are reasons why it has been a staple in the human diet throughout history. Among red meats, steaks tend to be lean, healthy, and nutritious. When you see some of the specific ways that steak is good for you, you can learn to enjoy one of your favorite meals without worrying about what it means for your health.
Everyone needs protein. That much is obvious. What isn’t as widely known is that animal protein, specifically, has health benefits that cannot be replaced by meat alternatives.
In particular, animal protein is good for higher brain function. A common side effect of purely vegan diets is that practitioners suffer from brain fog. That’s because animal protein plays a vital role in your body and central nervous system.
A good steak can actually help you out of a mental fog.
Fatty acids are essential for too many physiological functions to list here. Essentially, you need a range of fatty acids for a lot of activities, and they are also irreplaceable.
Now, there are specific health conditions that require cutting back on fats, including good fatty acids, so always defer to your doctor in those cases. But, in general, the fatty acids that are abundant in steak help your body perform optimally.
Part of what makes steak so good for you is that it is packed with essential nutrients. In addition to what is listed above, steak is a good source of iron, B12, zinc, and more. Each nutrient is vital to bodily function, and you can get those nutrients in a single steak. A little bit of steak in your diet makes overall nutrition easier for most people.
There are cases where individuals have spoken with their doctor and were told the unthinkable — that they had to cut back on their steak intake. It’s heartbreaking, but there are conditions that can be exacerbated by an abundance of red meat.
Always work with your doctor to establish a healthy diet. But if you need to cut red meat, you can consider cutting out other sources of it before steak, as steak is typically one of the healthiest forms of red meat. That said, let’s look at some conditions where moderation is important.
If you have high cholesterol, you want to avoid saturated and trans fats. They are found in most animal meats and products, and they do contribute to high cholesterol. Conversely, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats actually help with cholesterol, and you find these in animal products too. Salmon is known for helping with cholesterol.
Red meat is a mixed bag. A lot of red meat is produced from grain-fed or finished cattle. This is done to increase the marbling. That makes the steak taste better, but marbling has the wrong kinds of fat when you’re fighting high cholesterol. So working with your doctor, you can curb cholesterol problems by sticking to leaner meats, like filet mignon and sirloin, while ditching ground beef and marbled steaks. Also, daily steak is not ideal when dealing with cholesterol issues.
There are a lot of things that can lead to an upset stomach. If you have chronic issues, then you want to carefully watch what you eat.
With steak, the most common problem is excessive protein intake. While protein is good for you, your body can only digest so much from a single meal. If you eat more protein than you can process, it will cause a rumble in the belly region. It isn’t dangerous, but it doesn’t feel good.
There are two things that can curb the discomfort. Reduce your portion size and get your steak cooked longer. When steak gets hot, the myoglobin (which turns the juices red) is denatured and becomes easier to digest. A good cook can make a well-done steak that is tender and juicy.
Gout is a rough ride. It is very frequently triggered by red meat. Some medications can get it under control to the point where you can enjoy a good steak, but you need to work with your doctor on this one.
If all of this steak talk is making you hungry, you can get a premium steak at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Check out the online menu or swing by for a meal.