Sources of red meat have come under fire lately as the crusade against red meat has intensified. There has been evidence mounting showing the link between red meat and various forms of cancer, and cardiovascular issues; however much of this was focused on meat from cows. What about lamb meat?
Lamb is a meat that isn’t too popular in the United States, and is much more popular in some european countries, especially along the Mediterranean in places like Greece and Italy. Lamb seems like it can be another potential alternative to beef, but how healthy is it?
Lamb meat is considered to be red meat, which is so because of the amount of a compound found in these meats, which gives them their distinct red color when it comes in contact with oxygen in the air.
The most beneficial aspect of red meats when compared to other food sources is how rich they are in trace minerals we need to function, such as zinc, iron, and selenium to name a few. Lamb contains the most zinc and iron out of all the meats per pound, making it something beneficial to eat from time to time in moderation.
Another benefit to eating lamb over other meats like beef is that generally speaking it is a leaner cut of meat, however you are still getting a good amount of protein in the process. Again how lean it the meat is depends on the cut, and these number can vary greatly. With that being said it is possible to get about 22g of protein from lamb in as little as 175 calories, giving it a pretty decent nutritional profile.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Lamb?
Comparisons to other red meats aside, lamb still provides plenty of benefits on its own. Here are some of the best reasons why you should be eating lamb.
1 – Excellent Source of Trace Metals
With all of the new health trends moving towards vegetarianism, veganism and generally in a direction away from meat consumption, it tends to leave some people really deficient in a particular group of nutrients.
Meats are great sources of these trace minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are essential in performing many processes within the body. Zinc for example is essential in providing immunity in the body, and for maintaining sperm count.
Iron on the other hand is a required component in the production of our red blood cells, which bind to and carry oxygen throughout our body to various tissues and organs. Lamb is particularly rich in iron, more so than even beef or venison.
2 – Provides Plenty of Healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids
When people think of meat, especially red meat, healthy fats aren’t the first things that come to mind. The thing is, most meats do produce omega 3 fatty acids if fed a natural diet. Cows fed corn for example will exhibit omega 6 or “bad” fatty acids, while cows fed their natural feed of grass will produce the omega 3’s. Basically it all depends on the animal’s diet, so know where your food is sourced from what they have been fed if at all possible.
When people think of meat, especially red meat, healthy fats aren’t the first things that come to mind. The thing is, most meats do produce omega 3 fatty acids if fed a natural diet.
Cows fed corn for example will exhibit omega 6 or “bad” fatty acids, while cows fed their natural feed of grass will produce the omega 3’s. Basically it all depends on the animal’s diet, so know where your food is sourced from what they have been fed if at all possible.
3 – One of the Best Sources of Protein by Weight
One of the nutrients lamb is the richest in is protein. Just one small 3 ounce serving of lamb can provide about 23 grams of protein, which is about the same amount you would get from a cup of Greek yogurt. This is approaching the upper limit of protein per weight based on what food sources we have available.
Another important aspect of lamb meat like other meats is that it has a complete amino acid profile, containing all the necessary amino acids we need, unlike most plant sources of protein.
Eating lamb periodically, say once a week or every other week can be really beneficial in providing these important nutrients.