You probably know lamb is delicious – when cooked properly, it’s tender and succulent. And versatile – just check out this herbed lamb tripe or lamb steak and kidney pie, for example. But did you know it also offers a host of nutritional benefits? Lamb & Mutton SA have shared three reasons to include lamb in your healthy meal plan.
1. The protein, iron and vitamin A found in lamb are readily absorbed by the body
When considering the nutrients found in food, it’s not sufficient to only consider whether food contains certain nutrients. You also need to know how easily the body can absorb and use these nutrients. This factor is known as bioavailability. Animal food sources are known as complete sources of protein because they contain all the essential amino acids in the correct proportions and the protein can be readily absorbed and used by the body. Likewise, heam iron is the most bioavailable form of iron and retinol is one of the most bioavailable forms of vitamin A – and both can be found in red meat.
2. Lamb is a nutrient-dense food product
Just 100g of lamb meat contributes at least 6% of your daily magnesium intake, 5% of your daily iron intake, 10% of your daily zinc intake and a whopping 44% of your daily protein intake. When you consider that the recommended weekly amount of lamb meat is 350–500g, you can see how much value lamb can contribute to your diet when included regularly. These nutrients help your muscle development, contribute to a healthy heart, and provide you with more energy and a stronger immunity.
3. Lean red meat is a good source of high-quality fats
You may have been told that red meat is high in “bad” fats such as saturated and trans-fatty acids, but the truth is that lean red meat is a good source of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and these fats are essential to your wellbeing. Fat helps with absorbing and transporting vitamins A, D, E and K; is essential for hormone production; is a great source of energy; and insulates the body against the cold. A well-trimmed piece of lamb can contain up to 50% less fat, and most of the remaining fat consists of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Article reviewed by Marina Fourie, MSc. Nutrition. Supported by the Red Meat Industry of South Africa.
Schönfeldt, HC & Hall, N. (2012) Red Meat in Nutrition and Health. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.