The Roundup -

Celebrate American Heart Month with a Heart Healthy Serving of Beef


February is American Heart Month, and the Richland County Nutrition Coalition would like to remind you of the importance your diet, and specifically beef in your diet, can be to preserving the health of your heart.

Each year, heart disease is associated as the primary factor in one out of every four deaths. That makes heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There's no doubt about it, heart disease is a scary thing, and when it affects you or a loved one, those numbers aren't just statistics; they are your real life. Chances are you or someone you know has suffered from heart disease, and when you're facing a health problem that could steal your life, a patient is willing to do anything to get better, including cleaning up their diet.

A Closer Look: Heart Association Endorses Heart-Healthy Beef

One of the first knee-jerk reactions a heart patient has is to cut red meat out of their diet because of its perception as being high in cholesterol and fat. Red meat has received a bad reputation over the years-especially when it comes to heart health. But, before you give up steaks and burgers altogether, listen to what the American Heart Association (AHA) has to say about beef.

The American Heart Association has certified nine fresh beef cuts to display the Heart-Check mark, signifying they meet the AHA requirements for heart healthy foods as part of an overall healthy eating program. According to, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef is naturally rich in 10 essential nutrients. Choline, one of those nutrients, is credited in breaking down amino acids that can ultimately lead to an increased risk of heart disease. The AHA stamp of approval is one of the most trusted nutrition icons on food packaging today, with many consumers checking to make sure that the AHA checkmark is on their food products before purchasing.

The six cuts that meet AHA criteria for heart-healthy include:

Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select)

Top Sirloin Petite Roast, Boneless (USDA Select)

Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select)

Top Sirloin Strips (USDA Select)

Extra Lean Ground Beef (96% Lean, 4% Fat)

Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select)

Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select)

Sirloin Steak, Solution Added

Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless, Center Cut (USDA Select)

According to the beef checkoff site,, "These nine cuts are only the start, as we plan to continue adding extra lean beef choices to the list of AHA certified cuts. With many of America's favorite beef cuts already meeting government guidelines for lean, the future is bright for raising awareness of the positive role that beef, American's favorite protein, plays in a healthful, delicious diet."

Previous studies that found that red meat may increase the risk of heart disease have one big flaw: they lump processed meats (sausage, hot dogs) in a category with red meat. "These are completely different from lean beef in terms of nutrition," says nutritionist Michael Roussell, Ph. D.

In his study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Roussell also found that eating a healthy diet with lean beef also decreased triglyceride levels inside HDL cholesterol particles. That's important, he says, because "it improves the function of your 'good' HDL cholesterol and improves their anti-inflammation function, which helps fight disease. Beef brings a unique, heart-healthy blend of fats to the table that you won't get from other foods."

One big thing to remember, a 3-ounce serving of beef is all you need to get the most benefit from your meal. The USDA MyPlate states that anywhere from 5 to 7 ounces of meat daily will give you all the protein, nutrients and vitamins you need for proper nutrition.

For more facts on the heart healthy benefits of a lean beef diet, or for recipes, visit, or The Richland County Nutrition Coalition is proud to partner with the MonDak Area Stockgrowers in support of local farmers and ranchers. Like our Facebook page at or follow us on Pinterest at


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