Has your doctor ever talked to you about zinc deficiency? If you’re a strict vegan or vegetarian, then you’ve probably been informed about this nutrient deficiency. Zinc, an important trace mineral, is usually found in animal food sources. This is why people who follow vegan or vegetarian diets are the ones who are at a high risk of this health problem.
You will have problems getting enough zinc levels if you avoid meat and other zinc-rich animal-sourced food products, like liver, raw milk and cheese, and oysters. Your only other option is to take a zinc supplement, prescribed by your physician and in the right dosage.
If you have decided to consume meat products once again, though, one of the best options you can try is lean beef. A three-ounce serving of lean beef has as much zinc as 12 three-ounce servings of white tuna meat or six three-ounce servings of chicken breast.
Choosing and Cooking Lean Beef
The problem with lean beef in supermarkets is that they come from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Meats from these factory farms are usually loaded with growth hormones and antibiotics, which may be transferred to you.
As much as possible, only buy organic, pasture-fed beef from a small, local farm. It is leaner and healthier, and free of growth hormones and other drugs that commonly lurk in factory-farmed beef.
Another important consideration when eating lean beef is that you must know how to cook it properly. The best thing you can do is to simply sear the two sides, leaving the portion slightly pinkish-raw. No need to worry about salmonella and other harmful bacteria – if you’re consuming organic, pasture-fed meats, there is little risk of bacterial contamination.
Here are some additional lean beef cooking techniques you should remember:
- Grilling lean beef steak cuts is a great idea. You can also cook them in a broiler or skillet. Flavor or season them with herbs like basil and rosemary.
- Leftover beef pot roast can be shredded in small pieces, and then stored in the fridge or freezer. Add this to your tortilla soup or use it to make quesadillas.
- Stir-fry beef is a simple but delicious recipe you can try. Simply sauté the lean beef with some organic veggies (broccoli, onions, carrots, and string beans are good choices), and then flavor with oyster sauce. Serve over brown rice.
- Don’t throw out the leftover steak from yesterday’s barbecue party! Simply slice the steak into thin strips, and then use as a salad topping. You can also use it to make a delicious meaty sandwich.
Here’s a Simple Lean Beef Recipe You Can Try: Beef and Bean Chili
If you are tired or serving the usual steak or pot roasts, try this delicious, zinc-rich dish.
- Two pounds of ground grass-fed beef
- Two cups of chopped onions
- One medium-sized minced jalapeno chili, ribs and seeds removed
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- Two teaspoons of ground cumin
- Two tablespoons of minced garlic cloves
- One 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
- Two 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- One can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup of grated grass-fed cheddar cheese, regular or low-fat
- ¼ cup of plain or low-fat yogurt
- Cook the beef in a five-quart pot over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the chunks. Cook until browned. Remove the excess fat, but leave a small amount that you can use for cooking the onions in.
- Add the onions and cook for five minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic as well, cooking them until tender.
- Add the cumin and chili powder, and continue to cook until fragrant, for at least one minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the beans and keep cooking without the lid. When the meat and beans are tender, and the chili is thick (this will take about 30 minutes), you can turn the heat off.
- Serve in small bowls, with a dollop of yogurt and cheddar cheese as a topping.
Adding lean beef to your diet is a good way to avoid zinc deficiency. However, consult your physician to determine your zinc levels. He or she will also inform you if you need to take a zinc supplement.
Mishka Thomas is a writer and a mother to three kids. She believes that consuming a diverse and healthy diet is the most important way to avoid nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and zinc deficiency. She prepares her family’s meals using crops grown from her organic garden and meat from a local farm near their home.