Red meat is seen as the bad boy of a carnivore’s protein list. While there are much-heralded benefits to eating fish and chicken, red meat like beef is held up as the ultimate health destroyer.

For decades, we’ve been told that eating large amounts is linked to increased risk of bowel cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a few years ago, research by Harvard Medical School confirmed that a diet high in red meat can shorten life expectancy by increasing the risk of death from cancer and heart problems.

And while the Department of Health advises no more than 70 grams of red meat a day, surveys suggest four in 10 men and one in 10 women in the UK still regularly edge over the 90-gram mark.

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Is beef always bad?

But while this is clearly too much, is eating some red meat really so bad?

‘'Red meat has always had a bit of a bad rap,” agrees Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist. “Beef is seen to many ‘health-conscious’ amongst us as a guilty pleasure, high in saturated fat and not particularly good for us.

“However beef, in moderation, does not have to be all bad.  For a balanced diet it’s important to have a form of protein in every meal.”

She told us how else the meat can beef up your health.

1. It builds muscle

“Beef is a protein which is made up of amino acids, which helps build muscles."

 

2. Helps fatigue

“Beef is a fantastic source of iron which helps carry oxygen to all cells and muscles in our bodies, to help prevent fatigue.”

3. It can help heal wounds

“Beef is also high in zinc which is needed for a healthy immune system and wound healing.”

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4. Strong bones

“Beef is a good source of phosphorous, needed for strong teeth and bones.”

5. It can give you energy

“It contains a mix of B vitamins including B12, niacin, vitamin B6 and riboflavin which together helps us release energy from food.”