Tuesday, 19 September 2023

The Best & Worst Cuts of Steak—Ranked by Nutrition!

 Whether it's grilling season or not, a big juicy steak is a sought-after menu item. In fact, a recent survey by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association found that 48% of consumers eat steak at least once a week. But what is all that red meat doing for your health? To find out, we have to take a closer look at steak's nutrition information.

The good news is that beef, including steak, offers a wide range of essential nutrients and is an excellent source of protein. Even the worst cut of steak has plenty of nutritional benefits. For instance, while the ribeye is highest in total fat and saturated fat, "it's packed full not only with protein, but with healthy fat-soluble vitamins, iron, and vitamin B12," says Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT, which can make it a nutrient-rich option to eat in moderation.

Even though steak is a great source of protein and other nutrients, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating more than 18 ounces of red meat each week can increase your cancer risk. When eating steak, and other red meat, keep in mind that the overall amount of any cut of steak, and the frequency it's eaten makes a difference in your health.

To help you make healthier choices when you're shopping for your next steak at the butcher's counter, we ranked the 11 most popular cuts of steak from worst to best considering calories, total fat, and saturated fat.  


The #1 Unhealthiest Steak: Ribeye Steak

ribeye steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 289 calories, 22 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 361 mg sodium,0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0g sugar), 24 g protein

There's a reason this rich-tasting steak is so sought after (and ranks top of our list for the unhealthiest). Sold as a prime rib when served as a rib roast or a Tomahawk when left on the bone, it's highly marbled with fat, making each bite rich and juicy. Each 100-gram serving (about 3.5 ounces) of ribeye steak has 10 grams of saturated fat, almost 50% of the recommended daily limit. While you don't have to avoid this steak altogether, avoid the 16-ounce servings often sold in restaurants and select a reasonable 3 to 5-ounce portion instead. 


Delmonico Steak (Chuck Eye)

chuck eye steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 235 calories, 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0g sugar), 21 g protein

Each 3.5-ounce portion of Delmonico or Chuck Eye Steak has 17 grams of fat and 7 grams of saturated fat. While this is only 32% of the DV for saturated fat, a typical serving of Delmonico is closer to 10 ounces, which comes in just under 100% of the recommended limit for saturated fat. Ask for a smaller portion of this tender cut of steak or order it to share.


T-Bone & Porterhouse Steaks

t-bone steak
PER 3-OUNCE SERVING: 250 calories,18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 54 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 21 g protein

Also known as a Porterhouse or King steak, this cut has a signature "T" dividing a New York Strip and filet mignon. Each 3-ounce serving has 7 grams of saturated fat, or 32% of the DV. However, a T-bone steak is seldom served in this small of a size, as a typical T-bone is between 12 and 18 ounces, the maximum amount of red meat that's recommended to eat in an entire week. 


Skirt Steak

skirt steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 253 calories,15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 63mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber,0 g sugar), 29g protein

Skirt steak is higher in protein than many other cuts while having just 6 grams, or 27% of the DV, of saturated fat per 100-gram serving. While it's leaner than many other cuts of steak, it does still have 15 grams of fat per serving. The higher muscle percentage in this meat adds more protein but also adds a little more toughness compared to cuts that are even higher in fat and lower in protein.


Flap Steak

flap steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 196 calories,13 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 49mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 20 g protein

"Packed with flavor, this lean cut provides a protein punch without breaking the bank," says Jessie Hulsey RD, LD, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian. Each 100-gram serving of Flap Steak has just 4 grams of saturated fat, the equivalent of 18% of the recommended daily limit. "It's not only a wallet-friendly option, but also a great source of protein, iron, and B vitamins, essential for a balanced diet," Hulsey adds.


Flat Iron Steak

flat iron steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 228 calories,14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 78mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber,0 g sugar), 25g protein

Flat Iron steak is also known as a Boneless Top Chuck steak, as it's taken from the top blade. While not a super tough cut of meat, it is lower in fat and does have a section of tough gristle that needs to be removed. "These cuts tend to be less expensive and cooking them low and slow brings out their rich collagen, adding flavor without needing lots of extra fats," says Celine Thompson, MS, RDN


Top Sirloin Steak

top sirloin steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 219 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 58mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 29g protein

Top sirloin is a super versatile cut of steak that's relatively budget-friendly, tastes great grilled, and is also pretty low in fat with just 11 grams total and 4 grams of saturated fat per 100-gram serving. The fat content can change depending on trimming and the variation you select, but overall it's one of the healthiest tender cuts.


Filet Mignon

filet mignon
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 217 calories, 10g fat ( 4g saturated fat), 58mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 30g protein

"Filet Mignon is a very lean cut of beef and contains less fat compared to other cuts like ribeye or T-bone steak," says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. While it does have a reputation for being a lean cut, Filet Mignon gets its tender buttery texture and juicy flavor from 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of that saturated. This lower fat content can make it a healthier option for those looking to reduce their saturated fat intake, too much of which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, adds Chun.


Bottom Round Steak

bottom round steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 191 calories, 8g fat (3 g saturated fat), 57mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 27.2 g protein

For a low-fat and high-protein cut, try the Bottom Round Steak. With just 8 grams of total fat and only 3 grams of saturated fat, a 100-gram or 3.5-ounce serving with only provide 14% of your total recommended limit of saturated fat. These are excellent cuts to marinate and serve family style, allowing you to easily serve a healthy 3-5 ounce portion.


New York Strip Steak

new york strip steak
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 150 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat),45 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 23 g protein

New York Strip is one of the leanest cuts of steak that's also high in protein with 23 grams per 100-gram, or 3.5-ounce serving. You may also see this cut called Kansas City steak, Hotel-style steak, top loin, or shell steak. Even without the high amount of fat, it has a buttery texture and full flavor. 


The #1 Healthiest Steak: London Broil

london broil
PER 100-GRAM SERVING: 216 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 0g carbs ( 0g fiber, 0g sugar), 36g protein

Top round steaks, also known as a London Broil, come from well-used muscles, making them a high protein, low fat cut. With just 7 grams of fat per serving, but a massive 36 grams of protein, these cuts can be tough, unless they're made the right way. For a tender and juicy London Broil, do exactly as the name suggests and broil or braise it low and slow to help break down the tough muscle fibers.

Monday, 18 September 2023

Looking for a spicy fix for pain while boosting your heart and immune system? Try cayenne pepper

 A common spicy pepper used in all sorts of ethnic cuisine is a nutritional powerhouse that science shows can boost both heart and immune function while alleviating pain.

That pepper is known as cayenne (Capsicum annuum), a member of the Solanacaea nightshade family of plants alongside red pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Cayenne has been a part of Central and South American fare since time immemorial, and still to this day it is a favorite among spice lovers everywhere.

Cayenne contains a uniquely bioactive compound called capsaicin that gives the pepper its spicy flavor. Capsaicin along with the other constituents in cayenne are responsible for the pepper's powerful healing potential.

In terms of supporting heart health, cayenne is a stimulant, vasodilator, and blood thinner all in one. It is commonly taken in dietary supplement form by people wanting to increase circulation and strengthen their cardiovascular system, including their blood vessels and nerves.

Cayenne is rich in what are known as salicylates, which are often used in medications designed to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. One such salicylate is aspirin, which thins the blood by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing blood clotting.

"Natural salicylates also have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-cancer, and antidiabetic effects," one report explains.

The capsaicin component of cayenne also plays a role in heart health by clearing out lipid deposits that can build up and cause arterial narrowing. By dilating blood vessels and removing toxins, capsaicin improves cardiovascular function in a safe and effective way without the need for high-risk drugs.

Famously, herbalist and naturopath Dr. John Christopher, founder of the School of Natural Healing, has been stopping heart attacks in his patients by giving them cayenne pepper. In his 35 years of practice, Dr. Christopher has never once lost a patient to a heart attack, for which he credits cayenne.


Before resorting to drugs for pain or obesity, perhaps try cayenne first

Capsaicin has also been shown to alleviate nerve pain, muscle pain, headaches, and arthritis. It can also help relieve itching and psoriasis, a condition demarcated by dry and itchy skin.A

In one double-blind study, patients who took capsaicin for migraines experienced improvements ranging between 50 and 80 percent compared to a placebo. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found much the same thing when patients taking intranasal capsaicin for seven days saw a dramatic improvement in their migraine symptoms.

Patients with arthritis were found in another study to experience dramatic improvements when applying a topical 0.025 percent capsaicin cream to pain-affected areas on their bodies.

Cayenne has also been shown in the scientific literature to support healthy weight loss. One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that overweight and obese subjects who took 6 mg of capsinoid, a cayenne compound, for 12 weeks saw significant abdominal fat loss – with no adverse effects.

If more robust immunity is what you are after, cayenne peppers are an excellent choice because they are high in vitamins and minerals known to benefit the immune system. Among them are vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin A, along with choline and various carotenoids like beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin, the pigment that gives cayenne peppers their red color.

And finally, capsaicin has been shown time and time again to benefit gut health, and particularly gastric ulcers. Numerous scientific studies have found that capsaicin inhibits stomach acid secretion while stimulating alkali and mucus secretion and increasing gastric mucosal blood flow.

"I do a 2 oz shot of Bragg's apple cider vinegar every morning and I add cayenne pepper to it for that nice zing," one commenter wrote about he takes cayenne every day for health support.

Sunday, 17 September 2023

The 10 Healthiest Sources of Protein You Can Eat

 Americans seem to be obsessed with protein, thanks in part to the large body of research showing that protein can help with weight maintenance, body composition and is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (0.37 grams per pound). That is considered the minimal amount to ward off a deficiency but is not considered the ideal amount for most of us. Many researchers believe that a more optimal amount of protein is closer to 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram body weight or 0.6-0.9 grams per pound. Physically active individuals need more protein to help muscles build and repair post-exercise. According to research, older individuals also need more protein than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) because aging reduces the body's ability to process protein, and that can exacerbate muscle losses, that occur as we age.

A simpler way to put these recommendations into practice is to focus on getting 20-30 grams of protein at each of your three main meals. This is the preferred way to consume protein because it can help the body digest and absorb the essential amino acids protein foods provide.

Eating more high-quality protein is the best way to get the optimal amount of protein in your diet. However, protein-rich foods vary in their nutritional quality. Many animal-based protein foods, like fatty cuts of red meat and processed deli meats, are known to increase the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Here are 10 protein-packed foods to add to your shopping cart to ensure that you are getting the healthiest sources of protein in your diet.  



avocado toast with sunny side up egg

Eggs are often referred to as the gold standard for protein. A study published in the journal Nutrients reaffirmed that egg protein has been recognized to be highly digestible and an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids, with the highest attainable protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score of all protein sources.

One large egg has 70 calories and provides more than 13 essential nutrients, including iron, vitamin D, iron, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline. Eggs also pack six grams of high-quality protein and antioxidants. Eggs may also help you maintain a healthy weight: Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast reduces hunger and decreases calorie consumption at lunch and throughout the day. In an egg vs. bagel research study, subjects who ate an egg breakfast versus the same calorie breakfast of bagels lost 65% more weight and significantly more belly fat compared to those who ate the bagel breakfast. Eggs have also been shown to help protect against infections and provide anti-cancer benefits. 


Fish and Seafood

baked salmon

Fish and seafood are two of the healthiest high-quality proteins to include in your diet. Not only does seafood contain all nine essential amino acids for health, but a serving (three ounces) of tuna or shrimp provides about a third of your daily recommended protein intake or 20-25 grams of protein. What's more, compared to other high-quality protein sources, fish is significantly lower in calories, with about 100 calories per standard 3-ounce serving. Fish is so healthy that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend eating at least two to three servings of fish per week (about six to eight ounces cooked) to get the recommended 250 milligrams a day of EPA and DHA, the beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and tamp down inflammation along with other health benefits.


Greek Yogurt


Europeans have been enjoying Greek yogurt for centuries, but it's become increasingly popular here since Americans have steadily shied away from the sugary, fruit-on-the-bottom type yogurts or candy mix-ins to enjoy a more wholesome, protein-packed yogurt. Greek yogurt is considered a healthier yogurt because its unique straining process removes the liquid whey resulting in a thicker, creamier yogurt with twice the protein of traditional yogurt.  It's also an excellent source of calcium and it provides probiotics to help support immune and GI function.

A six-ounce serving of most Greek yogurt brands will provide more than 15 grams of protein for about 100 calories for a nonfat, no added sugar variety. To ensure that you choose the healthiest strained yogurt, be sure to look to make sure you find a Greek yogurt with minimal added sugar.  Greek yogurt is a great post-workout treat and one study published in Frontiers in Nutrition reported that untrained individuals who included Greek yogurt in their diet, as part of a 12-week training program, gained more muscle mass and reduced body fat compared to those who undertook the same training but didn't add Greek yogurt to their diet. The subjects ate Greek yogurt three times a day on training days and twice on off days. 


Cow's Milk

two glasses milk

Dairy milk is a great option for those seeking to add beneficial protein to their diet. Cow's milk provides two types of protein: casein, and whey. Casein makes up about 80% of the protein and whey accounts for about 20%. Whey is digested and absorbed quickly while casein is digested more slowly and helps to enhance satiety. Milk provides about one gram of protein per ounce, so an eight-ounce glass of any type of cow's milk, from skim to full fat, provides eight grams of protein. In addition to packing in protein, cow's milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and potassium, among other nutrients. If you buy grass-fed milk, you'll also get more beneficial conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies, including one published in Clinical Chemistry, show that milk drinkers tend to have more lean muscle mass and better body composition. Athletes often enjoy milk and other dairy foods in their diet to enhance recovery and build and maintain muscle mass. 


Chicken Breast

chicken breast pan seared

We all know that chicken breast is one of the best sources of lean protein. But did you know that a serving of chicken breast packs in more protein ounce-for-ounce compared to beef? A 3-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast has around 28 grams of protein and 140 calories, according to the USDA's nutrient database Chicken with the skin on will have twice as much fat as skinless breast meat, so it's best to enjoy skinless. Chicken breast also packs in more than protein, it is rich in B vitamins, selenium, and phosphorus, and also provides potassium, magnesium, and zinc. A study published in Food and Nutrition Research also notes that the fat content of skinless chicken breast is just one percent of the fat and just a third is unhealthful saturated fat. The research also suggests that lean chicken breast may help with weight maintenance, due to the high satiety effects of the protein in chicken. Eating chicken breast in lieu of higher-fat animal proteins can also reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.


Turkey Breast

turkey breast

Turkey breast is another great option to get more high-quality lean protein in your diet. Nutritionally very similar to skinless chicken breast, a three-ounce serving of turkey breast provides about 25 grams of protein for just 135 calories. Skinless turkey breast also provides B vitamins, niacin, selenium, and zinc. It's also low in fat like skinless chicken breast. For your health, it's best to skip processed meats, like turkey deli meat, and stick to minimally processed turkey that you can roast and enjoy for several meals. A review article published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients points out that red meat and processed meat consumption may increase the risk for certain types of cancer while white meats do not.


Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese

Cottage cheese has the reputation of being the quintessential diet food since the 70s, but it's made a huge comeback in recent years, thanks in part to its stellar nutritional profile that athletes and other health-conscious eaters seek. Low-fat cottage cheese provides more protein per calorie than most other foods. A typical low-fat plain cottage cheese provides around 14 grams of protein and 100 calories in a half-cup serving and it's a good source of calcium. One study reported in the journal Appetite found that equal calorie snacks of egg or cottage cheese provide similar satiating benefits, helping study participants eat less after snacking on an egg or cottage cheese snack. The protein in cottage cheese is about 80% slow-release casein, making it great to help you stay fuller longer, help moderate blood sugar levels, and help your muscles recover post-exercise. 



dried beans, lentils, and legumes

For a plant-based source of protein, beans are one of the healthiest options to enjoy. A cup of beans provides about 15 grams of protein, and you get the added benefit of all the fiber, antioxidants, zinc, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and many other nutrients beans provide. Beans are particularly filling, thanks to the one-two punch of protein and fiber. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that beans provide beneficial polyphenols that help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol and reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Beans are considered so beneficial for health that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating three cups of beans and legumes each week, which equals half a cup per day.


Soyfoods (Edamame, tofu, soymilk)

tofu bites in a bowl, healthy habits to transform your body after 60

Soy foods are one of the best plant-based proteins to add to your diet, especially if you eat a more plant-based diet. Soy foods contain protein that has all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. Compared to animal proteins, soy has low amounts of saturated fat, which makes it a heart-smart protein option. A cup of edamame (steamed immature soybeans in pods) provides about 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and around 200 calories. Soybeans are an excellent source of fiber and magnesium, and they also provide iron, B vitamins, omega-3 fats, and many other important nutrients. Soybeans also provide isoflavones that studies show help maintain bone health and may protect against certain types of cancer. 



puy lentils

Lentils are members of the same legume family as beans. They are dried, protein-packed seeds. They come in brown, red, yellow, black, and other varieties. No matter which type of lentil you eat, it will be a healthy source of protein. A cup of lentils has around 18 grams of protein for 230 calories, which is very similar to most types of beans. Lentils also provide B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. They also are rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk for chronic diseases. According to research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences lentils are rich in bioactive compounds that help reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.