The Many Uses of a Cow
Historically, humans have raised cows for meat, milk, and labor. However, in the past several decades, cows have been raised primarily for their meat.
The modern cow is a descendant of an animal called the auroch. These wild animals were large and originated somewhere in Asia. They eventually found their way to Africa and Europe.
Have you ever seen the famous cave paintings located in Lascaux, France? These paintings depict images of the aurochs. Historical records indicate that humans likely domesticated this wild ancestor of the modern cow around 9,000 years ago.
History & Origin of Cows
The Americas can thank Christopher Columbus for bringing the cow to America; records show he transported cows on his second voyage in 1493.
Eventually, the cows moved up to Mexico and then upwards again to California in the late 1700s. Today cows are raised on both small and large-scale farms to meet the global population’s demand for red meat.
Nutrition Facts of Beef (Cow’s Meet)
One pound of beef (the average grilled steak give or take) contains approximately 447 calories. Of these calories, 117 come directly from fats. The total fat content in a cooked serving of beef clocks in around 13 grams, or 20% of the body’s recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Within the total fat content is 4 grams of saturated fats or 21% of the RDA. Beef is a high cholesterol food; this serving size contains 1069 mg of cholesterol, which equates to 356% of the RDA.
In other words, beef should be enjoyed sparingly to maintain heart health. This serving size also contains 176 mg of sodium or 7% of the RDA. Beef is a carbohydrate-free food; there is no dietary fiber or naturally occurring sugars. However, it does offer 77 grams of protein.
health Benefits: Vitamins Found In Beef
The vitamin content of beef can vary based on the animal’s diet; grass fed, or animals that graze in open pastures, are likely to have higher nutrient content than animals raised and slaughtered on large-scale commercial farms which mainly feed the animals a corn-based diet.
But generally speaking, beef contains very high amounts of both B12 and vitamin C; both these vitamins exist at around 250% of the RDA. The body requires B12 to create red blood cells. It also plays a key role in brain function and DNA synthesis.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting the immune system. It also acts as an antioxidant in the body, fighting free radicals. Left unchecked, free radicals can contribute to a host of health issues including chronic diseases and certain forms of cancer.
Niacin is available at 86%, riboflavin at 54%, and pantothenic acid at 27%. Niacin or B3 is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that the body can’t store it; it has to continually get it from outside sources on a daily basis.
This vitamin plays an important role in regulating the digestive and nervous systems. It also helps maintain the skin. Additionally, as part of the B-complex of vitamins, it plays a key part in helping the body convert food to energy.
Other vitamins present at 10% or lower include thiamin, B6, and folate. Folate is particularly important for expecting mothers because it dramatically decreases the chances of infants born with neural tube defects.
health Benefits: Minerals Found In Beef
Beef offers a solid mineral profile. The mineral found in highest amounts is iron at a whopping 673% of the RDA. Selenium comes in next at 402%, followed by copper at 142%.
Phosphorus isn’t far behind at 94%. Zinc follows at 57%, then potassium at 25%. Other minerals are present at 15% or less including manganese, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
Iron plays a crucial role in oxygen transport throughout the body. As cells need oxygen on a regular basis to function optimally, the body needs iron to maintain this crucial function. This mineral also has an important role in energy production.
Selenium is an important mineral as well. Not only does it possess antioxidant properties, but it also helps the thyroid function properly.
However, it’s important to note that having too much selenium may lead to non-melanoma skin cancer; therefore selenium intake should meet and not exceed the recommended daily allowance. Copper is a key player in building strong tissue and bones. It also helps the body produce energy.
health Benefits: Other compounds Found In Beef
Although beef is not a significant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, it does offer 955 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids per serving. Studies show that fatty acids can support cardiovascular health. This serving size also contains approximately 216 grams of water and 4.9 grams of ash when cooked.
What To Look For When Buying Beef (cow’s meat)
Fresh beef should be red in color. Any brown meet signals that the oxidation process has begun and the meat is close to spoiling. Inspect the packages for any rips or tears; avoid any packages that have allowed air to circulate as this hastens spoilage and allows bacteria access to the food.
Always check the sell by or expiration date when purchasing meat. These dates exist as the best guess—if you purchase meat close to the stamped date, plan on consuming it immediately to avoid any possibility of early expiration.
As with many types of meat, bacteria-borne illnesses are likely to occur if the meat is consumed raw. Always cook the meat thoroughly, following any directions stated on the package.
Beef Serving Suggestions – How To Cook Beef
People prefer red meats prepared a variety of ways. Rare indicates meat lightly cooked that retains many of its juices while well-done dishes are thoroughly cooked with little to no natural juice remaining.
Beef may be cooked in a variety of ways including being grilled, baked, broiled, or roasted. Cultures around the world have created delicious meals that focus on beef. These meals range from shredded beef enchiladas to Filipino beef stew.
Beef can be cooked and added to green salads or chilled and enjoyed shaved on a lunch sandwich.
Five Fun Facts About Cow’s Meat
1 – The average American eats around 60 pounds of beef each year.
2 – People consume approximately 25 billion pounds of beef per year.
3 – One cowhide can be used to manufacture 144 baseballs.
4 – A newborn calf weighs in around 80 pounds.
5 – Cow byproducts include leather, glue, soap, and gelatin.