From the Field: Celebrate National Heart Month with Beef

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

February is National Heart Month and people are urged to be more conscious of a heart healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association cites seven steps to have a healthy heart. They are:

1) Engage in regular physical activity,
2) Eat a healthy diet,
3) Maintain a healthy weight,
4) Don’t smoke,
5) Control cholesterol,
6) Manage blood pressure, and
7) Keep blood sugar at healthy levels.

The good news is that lean proteins such as beef, pork, and poultry can be a part of this.

I want to share with you exciting news about the benefits of beef in a heart healthy diet. It used to be that medical professionals and nutritionists discouraged consumption of red meat. But a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition called “Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet” or “BOLD” showed beef’s role in a heart healthy diet. The biggest take away from this study is that adding lean beef to a heart healthy diet reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol by 10 percent.

The BOLD diet includes 4 ounces of lean beef daily. New research and data are leading to more physicians and nutritionists recognizing that lean beef does play a role in a healthy balanced diet. The BOLD study also demonstrated that a diet including lean beef every day was as effective at lowering total and LDL “bad” cholesterol as the gold standard heart healthy diet DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The BOLD diet is similar to DASH in that it includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and beans. But the BOLD diet uses lean beef as the primary protein source.

What about the fat? Half of the fat in a cut of beef is monounsaturated, the same type found in salmon and olive oil. The other half that is saturated, 1/3 of that is stearic acid, which has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels. The beef community has made great strides in providing leaner products for the consumer. There are now more than 29 beef cuts that meet the government guidelines for lean. Some of those include the t-bone steak, tenderloin, new york strip, and 95 percent lean ground beef. Beef is also nutrient dense, specifically in protein, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

The website has lots of information. There are also some downloadable fact sheets that you could hand out to your friends and neighbors. That can be another way to be an advocate for agriculture. Production practices and humane treatment aren’t the only areas that we agriculturalists need to promote. We also need to promote the nutritious and healthy aspects of our food products–whether you sell wholesale or retail; you are a food producer. Therefore, nutrition has to be a component of your promotion. What better way to promote National Heart Month than to share the good news about the healthy and nutritious benefits of beef.

So be BOLD by including beef in your diet and sharing the information with your friends and family.

Until next time,

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