Red meat contains iron…and what else?
Red meat is an excellent source of highly bioavailable dietary iron and this message was spread far and wide during World Iron Awareness Week 2016.
The awareness campaign held from 18 to 24 April was hugely successful in its attempt to spotlight the impact of iron deficiency in New Zealand, and across the globe.
Key messages throughout the campaign week targeted symptoms of iron deficiency, dietary sources of iron, and factors affecting absorption.
We often talk about red meat, such as lean beef and lamb, as offering a power pack of nutrients but what does this mean?
During World Iron Awareness Week we chose to spotlight the iron content of lean beef and lamb because they are among the richest sources of easily absorbed iron; a 120g lean beef steak provides over 4.0mg of iron!
It doesn’t stop there…
Red meat is also an excellent source of highly bioavailable zinc, selenium, and B vitamins, with red meat being one of our major sources of vitamin B12
We learnt during World Iron Awareness Week those who don’t eat meat have a recommended daily intake (RDI) for dietary iron around 80% higher than those who do eat meat.
Zinc requirements are about 50% higher for those who don’t eat meat than for those who do include meat in their diet. This is because zinc, like iron, is more easily absorbed from animal foods than from plant foods (all the more reason to include both in your diet!).
Spotlight on ZINC
Zinc has many essential functions in the body including metabolism, protection against free radical damage, and immunity. Zinc is also needed for optimal growth and development, especially important during adolescence.
Lean red meat is an excellent source of zinc but the trace mineral can also be found in legumes, dairy products, and wholegrains.
Wholegrains are important as the outer layer of the grain is where many of the nutrients are found and more refined types, like white bread instead of wholegrain bread, will have a lower zinc content.
Men, teenage boys and breastfeeding women have the highest zinc requirements. A 100g lean beef steak provides 6.3mg of zinc which is around half of their recommended daily intake. Including plenty of vegetables and wholegrains alongside red meat 3-4 times a week ensures a well-balanced diet with plenty of opportunity for getting enough zinc.
Our warming Baked Lamb Shoulder Chops
recipe is ideal for those cold winters nights. Better yet, this dish contributes half of the daily zinc requirements for women, essential for a healthy immune system.