The Healthiest Way to Cook a Steak

“Plant-based diets” have been a health buzzword for some time, and more people are giving up or cutting back on meat, especially red meat, whether because of the potential health risks or because of concerns about the impact of traditional livestock farming on the environment.

Still, a casual steak can feel like a celebration, and has some nutritional benefits—things like iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.

When it comes to your health, a lot of the impact of red meat depends on how much you eat.

“The link between meat and chronic disease is worse,” says Sarah Anzlovar, RDN, a Boston-based intuitive eating dietitian for moms. “Ultimately, diets high in red meat are associated with an increased risk of many cancers, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and more.” However, the research linking red meat to poor health outcomes is relatively weak.

And, said Anzlovar, that doesn’t mean that those results are the result of red meat alone. Research has found that people who eat a lot of red meat have other risk factors for chronic disease, such as smoking, not getting much physical activity, and skimping on fruit and vegetables.

“My advice is to eat as little processed meat as possible and eat fresh meat in small portions,” says Christine M. Palumbo, RDN, a nutrition consultant from Naperville, Illinois.

If you decide to enjoy the occasional steak, there are other ways to make sure it’s as healthy as possible, from the specific cut you choose to how you prepare and cook it. Consider this the ultimate guide for the health conscious.

Gut Health Benefits

“Beef, including steak, provides more than 10 essential nutrients and a significant amount of protein,” says Palumbo. It’s considered a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (compounds your body uses to make protein) that your body can’t make on its own.

Be aware that “incomplete proteins” (like those found in nuts and vegetables) are still quite good for you. “The idea that complete protein is ‘better’ is an old myth – as long as you’re eating a variety of foods, even incomplete proteins, you can easily meet your protein needs,” says Anzlovar.

One of the reasons steak, like other red meats, tends to get a bad rap is its high amount of saturated fat. But not all steaks have the same amount or type of fat. There are cuts of beef that qualify as lean options.

For example, here’s the nutritional breakdown for a 3-ounce (ounce) serving of sirloin steak (which is considered a lean cut) with the visible fat trimmed:

  • calories: 186
  • Protein: 25 grams (g)
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Vitamin B12: 1.6 micrograms (µg)
  • Zinc: 4.4 milligrams (mg)
  • Selenium: 26.8µg
  • Niacin: 6.7mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.5mg
  • Phosphorus: 185mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.1mg
  • Iron: 1.7mg
  • Choline: 93.5mg

How to Buy the Healthiest Steak

If you tend to feel overwhelmed every time you go to the meat counter at your grocery store, you’re not alone. These tips can help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck when choosing a steak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *