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Are you getting enough iron? | Health & Food

Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your brain sharp, maintain a healthy weight, and support a strong immune system.

For some reason lately, I have been seeing a lot of iron anemic clients through my practice and the clinic. A large majority of folks are eschewing red meat under the assumption that it’s not healthy. Going plant-based is a great idea to get more vegetables into one’s diet, but giving up completely healthy food can have dire health consequences.

The conversion rate of plant-based amino acids, protein and heme iron is relatively low compared to that of eating beef for those nutrients. However, if possible, it’s really important to source grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and eggs when available. Grass-fed beef has more heme iron, B6, B9, B12 and conjugated linoleic acid that our bodies can convert into usable nutrients. Leaner cuts like steak, flank and shoulder are preferred over ground beef which can be fattier. I also see a lot of folks who aren’t eating beef and eating more chicken. Then I see higher LDLs – low density lipoproteins. Chicken is higher in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) than red meat. So if you’ve opted for chicken over beef, you may see this in the lab.

And despite claims by the popular media and mainstream medical establishment to the contrary, there’s no consistent evidence demonstrating that the saturated fat found in red meat significantly raises blood cholesterol levels.

For people with iron overload conditions like hereditary hemochromatosis, it’s probably best to limit high-iron foods such as red meat, but for most of the population – especially those with iron-deficiency anemia – the iron from red meat is beneficial. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant, as iron is crucial for the growth and development of the fetal brain.

This is a great recipe to incorporate a small amount of grass-fed beef into your diet at least once or twice per month. Shaved steak is an affordable and lean cut that works well in this recipe too. I love the shaved steak from Whiffletree Farm – a local farm selling grass-fed beef in Warrenton.

Beef and cruciferous vegetable stir-fry

ingredients:

1 pound grass-fed beef (such as sirloin, flank or shaved steak), thinly sliced

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil • 2 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp black pepper • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro • 1 tbsp ginger, minced

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and black pepper to make the marinade.

2. Add the beef to the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

3. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. Add the beef and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until browned.

4. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

5. In the same pan, add the broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

6. Add the beef back to the pan and stir to combine.

7. Stir in the cilantro and green onions and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.