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America’s Increasingly Low Iron Levels Could Be Improved With Beef

beef boosts low iron levels

I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend. We spent the weekend with friends and family. Of course, we're also busy weighing and tagging new calves. Before the weekend got started, though, I had an appointment to donate blood at our local blood bank.

I try to donate blood every eight weeks because I feel it is a small thing I can do to help save lives in our community. What convinced me was a story about a farmer who required 60 units of blood after his leg was caught in an auger. The story made me realize how important such donations are, and how I or one of my loved ones might one day be in a similar need.

As I was sitting in the donation chair, the technician talked to me about the increasing number of people who are unable to donate because of low iron levels in their blood. She said this is a growing problem in the U.S., as more and more people have a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia. This problem escalates for those who don’t eat meat at all.

According to the Mayo Clinic, menstruating women, infants and children, vegetarians and frequent blood donors have an increased risk of becoming anemic. Luckily, this problem can be improved by eating iron-rich foods. The technician at the blood bank encouraged me to eat raisins, spinach or eggs.

“What about beef?” I asked her.

She said, “Of course! A steak the night before a blood donation will really help.”

There is a new blog post on Facts About Beef titled, “Top 10 reasons to eat beef. Because if you didn’t...”

The blog carries a wealth of information. It cites beef as a low-calorie, nutrient-packed food source. It also compares the protein levels of different foods, such as peanut butter, black beans and tofu cubes.

But, what intrigued me the most about the blog was this tidbit on iron: “Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide; in the U.S. alone, a significant number of girls aged 9-16 (75%) and adult women (50%) consume less than the recommended amounts of iron. Beef is the most readily available and easily absorbed source of iron in the American diet. A 2005 analysis showed beef eaters were 26% more likely to meet nutrient requirements for iron than non-beef eaters.”

Whether you're a blood donor or just want a little more energy to get through your day, look to iron-rich beef. What’s more, according to Beef It’s What’s For Dinner, “Not only does beef taste great, it is one of the best ways to fuel your body. Beef is a major contributor of  protein, zinc and vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron and niacin. By supplying a nutrient bundle in every bite, eating beef is a great way to make the most of your calories. A 3-oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie diet. At the same time, it supplies more than 10% of the daily value for these nutrients.”

Were you aware of these beef facts? Are you a regular blood donor? What led you to the decision? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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