Community Agriculture Alliance: Beef is what’s for dinner, lunch or breakfast

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County Cattlewomen, previously Routt County Cowbells, has been educating, promoting and providing nutrition education, outreach and marketing about beef since its inception in 1940. Two of the ladies involved with cowbells back then were Evelyn Semoton (Clark area) and Calla Appel (Twenty Mile area); I’m sure there are many more that I’m not aware of.

Routt County Cattlewomen have also played a vital role since 1994 in providing scholarship monies to young Routt County recipients wanting to go to college; one of those recipients from Hayden with no agriculture background received a BS degree in nutrition and went on to get her masters.

What are the benefits of beef?

The meat is an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals and 99% of the cow is utilized in many other products.

The following vitamins and minerals are abundant in beef.

Vitamin B12: Animal-derived foods, such as meat, are the only good dietary sources of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that is important for blood formation and your brain and nervous system. Vitamin B12 is almost exclusively found in animal products and is responsible for giving us energy and regulating our bodies. Interestingly, vitamin B12 can actually protect you against heart disease, prevent strokes and regulate blood pressure, because it suppresses unhealthy levels of cholesterol.

Zinc: Beef is very rich in zinc, a mineral that is important for body growth and maintenance.

Selenium: Meat is generally a rich source of selenium, an essential trace element that serves a variety of functions in your body.

Iron: Found in high amounts in beef, meat iron is mostly in the heme form, which is absorbed very efficiently.

Niacin: One of the B vitamins, niacin (vitamin B3) has various important functions in your body. Low niacin intake has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6: A family of B vitamins, vitamin B6 is important for blood formation and energy metabolism.

Phosphorus: Widely found in foods, phosphorus intake is generally high in the Western diet. It’s essential for body growth and maintenance.

Products used from cattle are gelatins, produced from skin and bones, and are used in ice cream, marshmallows and gelatin desserts. Natural sausage casing comes from the intestines. The hide is used to make leather, but it also provides a base of binders for asphalt and plaster, ointments and insulations for houses. Inedible fats from a cow are used in lubricants and industrial oils, lipstick, hand creams and soaps. One fatty acid is used to make car tires run cooler.

Over 100 pharmaceuticals leverage beef by-products, including those used to prevent blood clots, help babies digest milk, control anemia and relieve some symptoms of asthma and hay fever. Insulin is one of the most notable drugs derived from the pancreas of a cow. About five million people are diabetic in the U.S., with over a million needing insulin every day.

Sharon Clever is with Routt County Cattlewomen.

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