31 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Steak

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Grilled T-Bone Steak

What is Steak

It is difficult to utter the word “steak” and not have your mouth immediately start watering.

Steak is a thick, flat cut of beef, usually cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers.

Some cuts are exceptions to that rule, including those that are sliced parallel to the fibers (e.g., flank steak, which is cut from the abdominal muscles; the Silverfinger step, which contains three rib bones and is cut from the loin; and skirt steak, which is cut from the plate.

Steak is usually served with something on the side, such as vegetables, chips, or sauce, depending on how you like it.

Steak is a tricky food to cook right, especially if you don’t have much experience with it, but it can be enjoyed after various degrees of cooking, as per your tastes.

When it comes to steak, timing is critical and can mean the difference between tender and juicy or dry and unsavory.

While preparing steak or dining in a restaurant, you can choose to have steak in its raw form (e.g., such dishes as steak tartare, carpaccio, or gored) to its overcooked form (blackened throughout and crispy).

Most people, though, prefer to avoid such extremes.

The level of cooking ranges from very rare to well-done, with rare, medium-rare, medium, and medium well-done in between.

Extra rare or blue steak will be red in color and soft.

As the degree of doneness increases, the color changes from red to pink to gray to brown and if overcooked, black. (1)

While blue steak is hard to chew because it is not cooked, rare and medium-rare steaks are generally juicy and succulent.

As steak is cooked more and enters the medium well-done or well-done category, it becomes more and tougher and chewy.

Since beef products have a short shelf life, you need to store them in the refrigerator before cooking if you buy fresh.

Wrap the item loosely in plastic wrap, since tight wrapping creates a breeding ground for bacteria, and store it in your fridge.

Then keep it in a refrigerator at between 37ºF and 40°F.

If your meat has been vacuum-sealed, store the package in the refrigerator without opening it until it’s time for cooking.

This will keep the meat good for three to four weeks.

If it is frozen and properly sealed, the vacuum-packed beef can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.

When thawing the beef, make sure to thaw in cold water or overnight in the refrigerator; thawing in room temperature can allow bacteria to develop.

If you have pieces left over after cooking, make sure to refrigerate them as soon as possible.

While handling raw beef, be sure to use a separate plastic cutting board.

Properly wash the board and all utensils as soon as possible.

Also, remember to wash thoroughly your own hands and any kitchen area that has come into direct contact with the raw meat.

These steps are needed to avoid cross-contamination. (2)

Remember that you don’t have to worry about washing or rinsing red meat.

In fact, running water will aerosolize the bacteria on the surface, increasing chances of cross-contamination.

The heat while cooking will be enough to kill the bacteria you might worry about.

If you want to remove something from the surface of the cut or reduce surface moisture, instead of washing, dry-wipe it or scrape it off with a knife.

You can choose to marinate your steak for flavor, but if you have a quality cut, it is better to just lightly season it and enjoy the authentic taste of beef.

Salt and pepper is a classic, can’t-go-wrong combination.

You can also add some simple accompaniments, such as garlic, onion, or bell pepper.

If you prefer a more complex seasoning mix, some great ingredients are paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, crushed coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, ground coriander, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, ground cloves, and dill.

You can form your own mix by creating combinations more to your taste.

Use butter or light oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil, while cooking.

Most people usually head to their grills to prepare steak, but you can pan-fry or broil it too.

You should sear the outside to brown it and add more flavor.

 Two cows lying in the grass

History of Steak

 

People have been eating meat since time immemorial.

Primitive hunter-gatherer communities would hunt animals to eat, including bovines.

When humans started domesticating animals around 8000 BC, cows were among the most popular choices in most parts of the world.

The Spanish introduced cows to the New World in the fifteenth century, after which cattle herding and breeding cows for meat began in the Americas.

At that time, beef was usually consumed by those who raised cows or obtained it from slaughterhouses.

After the advent of industrialization, beef skyrocketed in popularity.

As steak became available packaged and sealed in grocery stores, it became an important part of people’s diets.

As more and more people wanted steak for dinner, the number of feedlots increased.

To avoid health issues, antibiotics for the cattle began to be used.

Recent advances in bioengineering have led to an increase in the use of synthetic growth hormones and steroids, but as people have become more concerned about their health, the demand for organic and grass-fed beef has increased.

Grass-fed beef, raised in open pastures, is known to be more nutritious than other varieties. (3)

Steak, originating from the Old Norse word “steik” (meaning “roast”) has been part of people’s diets for several centuries, especially American diets.

Today, people can go to modern steakhouses that serve steak alongside other dishes.

This tradition began in New York City in the mid-nineteenth century with beefsteak banquets and chophouses.

Beefsteak banquets were a congregation of men in politics for celebratory or fund-raising purposes.

Chophouses provided hot meals, particularly steaks, to merchants and clerks in the city. (4)

Over time, the way steak is handled changed too.

Early butchers would dry-hang the meat for weeks on end to accumulate flavor.

Today, beef is rarely hung for more than three weeks.

Since aging meat creates a moldy outer surface, it has to be cut off, leaving less meat to sell or eat at the end of the process.

In recent years, dry-aging has sometimes been replaced with vacuum-sealing the steak in clear plastic Cryovac packaging. (5)

While steak is popular in many regions of the world, the culture of eating steak has developed differently.

For example, in the United States, a normal steak dinner features various side dishes, including a starchy dish, with potatoes or rice, cooked vegetables, and a dinner roll or some other kind of bread.

People will often have what is called a “surf and turf” (also known as “pier and steer” or “reef and beef”), which is a combination of steak and lobster tail or shrimp.

Since the 1980s, people have also started pairing steak with red wine.

Earlier, beer or cocktails were more popular choices. (6)

In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, a typical steak meal consists of a piece of steak, fries, fried mushrooms and tomato, and occasionally other vegetables, such as peas, leafy greens, or carrots.

Mustard sauce or ketchup is often used as a condiment.

In France and Argentina, steak is served with French fries or sometimes a green salad.

Italians have been eating steak for only about fifty years or so and add Tuscan beans or salad to their serving of steak.

People in the Balkans have an entirely different tradition: they rub their cuts with a mixture of mustard and pepper and marinate it in vegetable oil and vinegar for a whole week.

Then they fry it in butter, use a piece of toast to soak up the grease, and serve the steak atop the toast, sometimes with fried eggs or parsley. (7)

 

Raw fresh meat Ribeye steak entrecote and seasoning on dark wood

Most Popular Cuts of Steak

 

Steak is available in many different cuts.

Try all the different types available, and see which ones you like.

Here are some of the most popular types of steak:

how to buy sirloin steaks 

 

Tenderloin

 

Tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, is one of the most expensive cuts of steak.

It comes from inside the sirloin and is boneless.

It is a very tender cut of meat, with almost no fat.

It has a very fine-grained texture and is often cut thicker than most steaks.

Because it’s so lean, you can accompany it with richer sauces or sides than usual, but it doesn’t have much flavor.

 Three cuts of Raw fresh meat Steaks and seasonings on dark backg

Rib eye

 

This cut comes from the upper rib cage of the animal, and you can choose to buy it with a bone or without.

It has luscious fat marbling and fat pockets interspersed in between the meat, which makes it one of the beefiest, flavorsome cuts available.

With rib eye, you should aim for thicker cuts and longer cooking times over high heat to absorb the fat.

Be sure, though, to sear the outside first so that it doesn’t end up being leathery.

 raw T-bone steak

T-Bone

 

Also known as Porterhouse, the T-bone is a cross between a fillet and a sirloin, which means you get the best of both, but you also have to be careful about the timing so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.

Since the filet side will cook faster, you need to keep it farther away from the heat source.

This cut has ample fat marbling throughout, which, coupled with the bone, means that it is delightfully flavorful.

 A strip steak newly placed on a charcoal grill

Sirloin

 

Sirloin is the cut from the back of the animal. It is the cut of beef located between the rib and the fillet.

While sirloin can be very fatty, it is a good idea to trim off the fat that sits on top of the steak.

Or you can even go for top sirloin, or the New York Strip, which has the bone, the bottom round muscles, and the tenderloin cut off.

Removing the bone, though, could result in a loss of flavor.

Today, butchers often hang it for days on end to add to its flavor, which is why it has become more popular than ever before.

 Fresh raw Beef Rump Steak on crumpled paper.

Rump

 

Cheaper than most cuts but still bursting with flavor, the rump cut is great as a regular dinner dish.

It comes from the backside of the animal and is a muscle that does quite a bit of work, meaning that it is on the tough side.

What it lacks in tenderness, though, it more than makes up for in taste.

Because of its toughness, you might want to cook it longer than the other cuts or slice it into smaller pieces.

 

General Nutritional Facts

 

Different cuts of steak generally have different amounts of nutrition.

How much fat, how many calories, how much protein, and how many vitamins and minerals are present depend on the cut.

An approximation of nutrients for steak weighing 85 grams is as follows, with percentages based on a 2,000 daily calorie intake:

  • 134 calories
  • 5 grams of fat (7%): 2.4 grams monounsaturated fat, 1.9 grams saturated fat, 0.3 grams trans fat, 0.2 grams polyunsaturated fat
  • 67 milligrams cholesterol (22%)
  • 21 grams protein (42%)
  • 55 milligrams sodium (2%)
  • 375 milligrams potassium (10%)
  • Vitamin B-12 (45%)
  • Vitamin B-6 (31%)
  • Thiamine (4%)
  • Riboflavin (14%)
  • Panthothenic Acid (13%)
  • Niacin (35%)
  • Choline (15%)
  • Iron (11%)
  • Magnesium (6%)
  • Calcium (1%)
  • Phosphorus (26%)
  • Potassium (7%)
  • Sodium (5%)
  • Zinc (58%)
  • Copper (10%)
  • Selenium (39%)

 

Steak also contains manganese, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate.

All these nutrients contribute to making steak one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet.

 Fiorentina dPorterhouse steak on a table manzo cotta alla piastra servita

31 Science-Backed Health Benefits

 

Steak and Muscle Mass

 

One of the most well-known nutritional components of all meats is protein.

Beef, in particular, is among the best sources of protein that you can find on the market, which means that it is excellent for maintaining your muscle mass.

Not eating enough steak or other sources of protein could be especially harmful to older people, since a deficiency could increase risks of sarcopenia or age-related muscle deterioration. (8)

Even if you’re young and fit, not eating enough protein can cause muscle atrophy, which happens when you’re not taking in enough amino acids (the building blocks of protein), thus causing your muscles to break down to support your energy needs.

During exercise and physical activity, your muscles are also likely to experience some wear and tear; protein can fix this damage and relieve muscle aches. (9)

Thick Raw T-Bone Steak

Steak and Muscle Function

 

Not only can steak improve your muscle mass, but it can also enhance muscular performance.

The protein in beef contains a dietary amino acid called beta-alanine, which helps form a dipeptide called carnosine, which is crucial for your muscles to function well. (10, 11)

Having high levels of carnosine in your muscles will reduce fatigue and improve performance during physical activity, such as sports or exercise. Your endurance and precision can both improve. (12, 13, 14, 15)

Research has shown that consuming a large amount of beta-alanine over a period of several weeks can increase carnosine levels up to 80 percent. (16, 17)

Following a pure vegetarian diet has been linked to low levels of carnosine and poor muscular performance. (18)

Grilled BBQ T-Bone Steak

Steak and Preventing Anemia

 

Anemia results when there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or a reduction in the ability of these cells to carry oxygen.

This is usually caused by an iron deficiency in the diet.

Anemic patients usually suffer acute fatigue or weakness. Beef contains a lot of iron, especially heme iron, which is mostly found in meat (19) and is absorbed much quicker by the body. (20)

Furthermore, there is evidence that meat can improve absorption of non-heme iron or plant-derived iron, too, even if phytic acid is present, which can reduce iron absorption. (21, 22)

A study has also found that iron can be taken in more efficiently through such meats as beef rather than supplement tablets. (23)

The vitamin B-12 in steak can help prevent megaloblastic anemia, since it aids in producing a healthy number of red blood cells. (24)

Likewise, riboflavin helps red blood cell production, transportation of oxygen to cells, and mobilization or iron. (25)

Therefore, eating more steak is an excellent way of avoiding anemia.

Beef t-bone steak on black stone table

Steak and Cancer Prevention

 

Cancer, a terminal disease that has no permanent cure, is becoming more and more prevalent across the world.

Since treatment for cancer is expensive, harsh, and often unsuccessful, you should focus on ways to potentially prevent its onset.

The nutrients in steak are an excellent way to start.

Steak has conjugated linoleic acid, a substance that has anticarcinogenic properties.

It quickly and efficiently blocks growth and metastatic spread of tumors. (26)

Riboflavin and vitamin B-12 help prevent cancer by preventing free radical damage and defending the digestive system, thereby boosting the body’s immunity to work against harmful mutated cells. (27, 28)

Selenium repairs damage to DNA without which these cells could mutate.

Thus, it not only helps prevent cancer but also slows down the progression of existing cancer cells. (29)

Since calcium helps absorb vitamin D and the presence of both has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, calcium, too, is important, as it helps control cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and induces apoptosis in cancerous cells. (30)

 Grilled beef steak

Steak and Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases

 

As you grow older, your brainpower will likely diminish, putting you at high risk for neurodegenerative diseases.

Eating steak could help keep your brain young.

Steak contains vitamins B-12 and B-6, a deficiency of which could cause neurological disturbances.

It helps keep nerves healthy and promotes healthy neurotransmitter signaling, helping prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (31, 32, 33)

Niacin has also been shown to be helpful against age-related cognitive decline. (34)

The protein in steak helps our body to synthesize glutathione, without which the body can experience oxidative stress and potentially suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. (35)

chuck steak on a plate

Steak and Mood Regulation

 

Concerning your health, you probably tend to neglect your mood, but our mood greatly affects our life.

A consistently foul mood or fluctuations could be due to nutritional deficiencies.

Steak can help regulate your mood, allowing you to feel and do better in your social and professional life.

Vitamin B-12, along with folate, keeps your nervous system healthy.

It is also crucial for the creation of a compound called SAM, which helps you deal with mood and stress, warding off related disorders, such as depression and anxiety. (36, 37)

Vitamin B-6 helps in the production of both serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters, which are needed to prevent and treat mood disorders. (38, 39)

Iron and certain amino acids found in protein also help balance hormones and prevent anxiety.

 Beef steak on wooden table

Steak and Heart Health

 

There is considerable speculation as to whether or not steak is really good for your heart, considering its high fat and cholesterol content.

While some studies indicate a link between red meat consumption and increased risk of heart disease, others have shown no such correlation. (40)

The presence of so many nutrients in steak means that it may be a powerful foe rather than a friend of heart disease.

Vitamin B-12 reduces elevated homocysteine levels, protecting the heart from attacks and strokes. (41)

Studies have also shown that niacin can decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels as effectively as prescription drugs. (42, 43)

Selenium has been shown to help by improving blood flow, fighting inflammation, and acting as an antioxidant. (44)

chuck-steak-cooked

Steak and Immunity

 

Making sure that your immune system is strong is very important to be healthy.

If it’s not, your body will be susceptible to all kinds of infections and diseases.

Studies have shown that CLA in steak can help improve your immune function. (45)

Selenium has been proven to be beneficial in counteracting various viruses, such as AIDS, (46) while iron helps the body properly digest food nutrients and provide oxygen to cells, boosting immunity.

Zinc, with its antiviral effects, can be a powerful tool for fighting the common cold, which aside from being a nuisance can also affect immunity. (47, 48)

Zinc is essential for good immunity since it assists in T-bone growth and differentiation into white blood cells, apoptosis of harmful cells, gene transcription, and protective function of cell membrane (49).

chuck-steak-with-vegetables

Steak and Neurological Function

 

You know that steak prevents neurodegenerative diseases, but it also helps keep your brain fit and sharp overall, allowing you to be alert in your daily life.

Protein also helps, since it is needed to make enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters.

Research shows that a deprivation of amino acids can severely damage cognitive function, such as knowledge retention, motor skills, and coordination. (50)

Low levels of dietary zinc have also been associated with attention and motor disorders.

A study also showed how just half the recommended amount of zinc could improve cognitive function. (51, 52)

Vitamin B-6, by controlling homocysteine levels, helps prevent damage to neurons. (53)

brunch-promo

Steak and Preventing Diarrhea


Persistent diarrhea affects over two million children in developing countries.

It makes them vulnerable to E. coli and other such bacterial infection.

Along with the urge to go the toilet frequently, diarrhea often brings with it nausea, dizziness, abdominal bloating, and cramping.

Zinc helps in fighting against diarrhea, although evidence indicates that it works only for children above the age of six months. (54, 55)

Since infants cannot have steak, that is no problem, but older children should eat steak to help avoid diarrhea.

Whole Flank Steak

Steak and Preventing Allergic Reactions

 

Are you stressed out?

Do you find yourself suffering from more allergies than before?

If yes, you might have chronic stress, which leads to zinc deficiency, or you don’t have enough zinc in your diet.

Zinc regulates the storage of histamine in your body and controls its release into tissue fluids.

Without zinc, excess histamine may be secreted, leading to your body showing such symptoms as a runny nose, sneezing, and hives.

Along with these allergy-related symptoms, it also makes you more susceptible to allergic reactions. (56)

round steak medium rare

Steak and Overcoming Thinning Hair

 

Your hair is one of the most striking parts of your appearance.

Many people want thick, luscious hair, but they often experience thinning hair and hair actually falling out.

Steak can be effective against hair thinning, since its vitamin B-12 reduces hair breakage, and vitamin B-12 increases collagen levels, making hair firm and strong.

Zinc deficiency, too, is linked to thinning hair and alopecia and is mostly felt by adrenal fatigue patients.

Hypothyroidism may cause zinc deficiency and hair thinning, so adding zinc to your diet can be effective in preventing hair loss. (57)

Raw meat marinated in green herb close up in a bowl. horizontal

Steak and Overcoming a Leaky Gut

 

Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, occurs when food substances from your gut and bloodstream get mixed up as a result of permeability of the intestinal lining.

This can cause inflammation and many diseases, such as food sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, thyroid problems, malabsorption of nutrients, allergies, skin inflammation, mood disorders, and autism.

The zinc in steak can help resolve this disorder by tightening the gut in Crohn’s patients. (58)

Medium rare grilled Steak Ribeye on black background. Top view

Steak and Dealing with Rashes

 

Skin rashes can be very bad.

They’re itchy, unsightly, and really annoying.

They can distract you from doing everyday tasks and make you feel miserable.

Acne and rashes can occur for various reasons, such as stress, an unhealthy diet, or poor hygiene and beauty routines.

Zinc deficiency is also one of those reasons. (59)

Since steak contains a large amount of zinc, it might just solve your rash problems!

Rib eye steak with wine

Steak and Oxidative Stress

 

Oxidative stress occurs when too many free radicals accumulate in the body.

Free radicals can damage cell components, such as DNA, lipids, and protein.

This can lead to many pathophysiological conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer and cell mutation, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, fragile X syndrome, atherosclerosis, and inflammatory diseases.

Clearly, if there is one thing you should avoid at all costs, it’s the buildup of free radicals.

Your body needs antioxidants, and steak has several, including selenium, which is an integral part of glutathione peroxidase, which helps protect lipids in cell membrane. (60)

Protein and vitamin B-2 also help synthesize glutathione and detoxify cells and prevent aging. (61)

juicy, and beautiful steak with spiced on the wooden background with the sauce

Steak and Thyroid Function

 

Thyroid hormones affect essentially every single cell in the body.

They increase the basal metabolic rate, help regulate long bone growth and neural maturation, affect protein synthesis, and increase permissiveness to catecholamines, but steak has a high amount of selenium, which catalyses the production of active thyroid hormones. (62)

It protects the thyroid gland, regulates production of reactive oxygen within it, and fights against antibodies that may cause thyroid diseases. (63)

A problem with thyroid function may lead to a number of problems, such as irritability, insomnia, weight gain or loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, and many others.

So it is extremely beneficial for you to eat steak and keep your thyroid gland healthy.

Meat Ribeye steak entrecote. Top view

Steak and Asthma

 

Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing.

Studies have demonstrated that low levels of selenium in the diet might be a cause of chronic asthma.

A controlled study found that groups taking selenium supplements saw a decrease in symptoms compared with the control group that took placebos. (64)

Accordingly, steak could help prevent asthma and could also potentially serve as an additional treatment for those suffering from chronic asthma.

Raw marbled meat steak Ribeye on dark wooden background

Steak and Fertility

 

Infertility can be frustrating, especially for those actively trying to conceive children.

Steak has selenium and niacin, both of which can improve fertility.

Selenium is necessary for sperm motility and increase in blood flow, (65) which is needed for fertility.

Since it is present in the mitochondria of the sperm cells, it may affect how the cells move and function.

Too much selenium, however, could be a problem.

Niacin, on the other hand, can be helpful against impotence from erectile dysfunction.

Raw fresh meat Ribeye steak entrecote and seasoning on dark wood

Steak and Healthy Pregnancy

 

The nutrients in steak can only improve your chances of getting pregnant and also help ensure that you and your baby are safe and healthy during the pregnancy.

For example, selenium has been shown to lower risks of miscarriages. (66)

Iron deficiency can cause premature births; babies born earlier than nine months might have heart problems or delayed growth and cognitive development.

Low iron intake could cause anemia during pregnancy, which could be disastrous.

Or it could lead to the infant having a lower than normal weight, a low amount of iron, and behavioral problems. (67)

By eating steak and thereby consuming more iron, you can greatly reduce these risks. (68)

Vitamin B-6 in steak helps overcome morning sickness during pregnancy, significantly decreasing nausea. (69)

Rib eye steak with wine

Steak and Healthy Blood Vessels

 

As we’ve mentioned before, vitamin B-6 is needed to regulate homocysteine.

If it is allowed to build up, the lining of the blood vessels may be damaged, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

By treating high homocysteine levels, vitamin B-6 protects the blood vessels from damage. (70, 71)

In general, B-vitamins, which are heavily present in steak, are a great opponent of atherosclerotic diseases, which occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the arteries. (72)

CLA is also effective against atherosclerotic diseases. (73)

grilled beef steak on white baking paper

Steak and Premenstrual Syndrome

 

If you’re one of those women who experiences PMS each time Aunt Flo comes to town, then you know just how physically and emotionally taxing it can be.

Since symptoms often include acne, swollen or tender breasts, tiredness, trouble sleeping, headache or backache, food cravings, joint or muscle pain, trouble with memory and concentration, tension, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression, upset stomach, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, any girl would want to avoid PMS if possible.

The B vitamins, vitamin B-6 in particular, can alleviate most of these symptoms, (74) which could be because it positively affects neurotransmitters, blood flow, and hormone regulation.

While steak only contains a small amount of calcium, it contributes by relieving many PMS symptoms. (75)

Organic Red Raw Steak Sirloin

Steak and Bone Health

 

Since steak is so rich in protein, it helps you maintain strong bones.

Studies have shown an association between eating more protein and increased bone health. (76)

Protein can heal broken bones and prevent osteoporosis and bone weakness.

One study showed that elderly people with low protein intake suffer the most from bone density loss. (77)

Calcium also helps keep the bones healthy, and because bone is largely made from phosphate, phosphorus is very important for bone mineral density, which is needed to prevent fractures and bone weakness. (78)

Whole Flank Steak

Steak and Growth

 

Phosphorous is also vital for building bones and absorbing nutrients.

A phosphorus deficiency can stunt growth in children and cause developmental problems.

So feed your children steak; they’ll love it, and it will help them grow.

During pregnancy, too, phosphorus is important for producing DNA and RNA. (79)

So with steak, you can make sure you’re getting enough of it to grow, maintain, and repair tissues.

Raw blank steak with french shallot, mustard and garlic

Steak and Skin Health

 

Having unhealthy skin can mar your appearance, making you lose confidence and affecting various aspects of your life.

Serious skin conditions might even affect your well-being in more serious ways.

Steak, however, has vitamin B-2, which helps in collagen synthesis, which keeps your skin firm and supple by improving elasticity.

A deficiency in riboflavin could cause you to physically age faster, increase time needed for wound healing, and cause inflammation and even chapped lips.

Niacin can be very effective against severe cases of acne that is inflamed and painful.

Since it reduces redness, flare-ups, inflammation, and irritation, it is also used to treat bullous pemphigoid and granuloma annulare. (80)

filet mignon medium rare

Steak and Arthritis

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes problems primarily in the joints.

Steak has niacin, which research shows can effectively increase joint mobility.

Consuming more niacin can relieve pain in the joints and reduce joint fatigue.

Research has also demonstrated that taking in lots of niacin can allow people to wean off painkillers or arthritis medication by reducing swelling, improving flexibility, and reducing inflammation to rebuild joint cartilage. (81)

grilled beef steak with vegetables on a wooden surface

Steak and Digestion

 

You may not always realize it immediately when you have poor digestion, but it presents a number of symptoms.

These include acne; fatigue; nausea; flatulence; belching; bloating; skin problems, such as dermatitis and psoriasis; food allergies; and many more.

None of those options sound pleasant.

To ensure proper digestion, the phosphorus present in steak balances the body’s pH levels, which allows the healthy bacteria in the gut to thrive and also activates digestive catalyst enzymes. (82)

It also prevents excessive water retention, preventing bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

Calcium also improves digestion to some extent. (83)

filet mignon with grill fire

Steak and Eye Health

 

Everybody wants to maintain good vision.

Steak has vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which decreases the risk of eye problems.

It is effective against macular degeneration and such disorders as cataracts, glaucoma, and keratoconus. (84)

As people age, the macula in the eye can deteriorate, reducing sensitivity to light and impairing vision.

You can prevent this from occurring by eating more steak.

Raw beef steak with peppercorns and herbs.

Steak and Preventing Headaches

 

Headaches are irritating and can disturb you while you attempt to go about your daily activities.

Migraines especially can last a long time and be quite painful.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity.

The riboflavin in steak is proven to be effective against headaches and migraines. (85)

It can reduce the frequency of migraines as well as their symptoms and duration.

raw filet mignon with spices

Steak and Weight Loss

 

Many people struggle to lose weight.

Those who are obese are especially vulnerable to serious diseases, such as heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fertility problems, fatty liver disease, and more.

Obesity can also affect their social and professional lives, mostly due to low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction.

Additionally, obesity can impair physical activity, causing them to be slower and less efficient in carrying out tasks.

Steak has CLA, which can decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass.

Studies conducted on both humans and animals show that CLA can cut body fat percentage dramatically. (86)

Since steak is such a rich protein source, it can help fill you up.

By keeping you satiated, you can avoid overeating and reduce your calorie consumption. (87)

Protein is better at keeping you full than carbs or fats. (88)

It also allows thermogenesis, which improves metabolism by requiring the body to use more calories for digestion. (89, 90)

One study found that more fat can be burned from the torso region with increased intake of calcium, which is also present in steak. (91)

filet mignon medium rare

Steak and Diabetes

 

Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes, not including the millions that remain undiagnosed.

Diabetes has become a major problem in recent years, probably owing to an increase in unhealthy eating habits.

It can cause many problems, such as pancreas malfunction, ketoacidosis, excessive urination, loss of consciousness, lack of concentration, infections, dry skin, heart disease, extreme thirst, and many other serious conditions.

Once again, CLA can come to the rescue.

It can help overcome resistance to insulin, the cause of type II diabetes. (92)

Protein, unlike sugars or carbs, doesn’t have much effect on blood glucose levels.

In fact, it can slow down the absorption of sugar during a meal.

High-protein foods, such as steak, can therefore prevent spikes in blood glucose levels and prevent type 2 diabetes. (93)

Likewise, calcium can also help maintain optimum glucose levels. (94)

A longitudinal study has shown that long-term consumption of calcium and vitamin D can lower the risk of diabetes by up to 33 percent. (94)

Argentinian sirloin Beef steak

Steak and Reduced Hyperactivity in Children

 

Hyperactivity and attention disorders can cause daydreaming, disorganization, and carelessness.

Other symptoms include fidgeting, compulsive talking, and impatience.

These symptoms can negatively impact performance of both children and adults in the classroom, at the office, or in social settings.

Steak has large amounts of vitamin B-6, which aids in the production of serotonin and norepinephrine, which help control energy and concentration.

Low levels of serotonin have been consistently linked with attention-related disorders.

Steak may therefore be beneficial for children suffering with AD/HD. (95)

chuck steak on plate

Precautions

 

While steak can be beneficial for your health, it is also important to recognize its potential adverse effects.

You know now that the components of steak are a formidable counter against cancer, but certain studies have shown a correlation between high meat consumption and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. (96, 97, 98)

This may be due to heterocyclic amines, which are formed when meat is overcooked, or due to the heme iron in red meat. (99, 100, 101, 102)

Note that avoiding well-done or overcooked steak can help eliminate the problem with heterocyclic amines.

Since cooking steak for a longer time can also destroy the vitamin components it has to offer, it might be better from a health-conscious perspective to stick to rare to medium-rare steak.

You should also note that not all researchers have come to the same conclusion: several have found no significant association between meat consumption and cancer. (103, 104)

Nevertheless, it might be wise to consume steak and other red meats in moderation.

Similarly, you’ve seen how steak can help reduce the risk of heart disease, but you need to remember that beef is high in both fat and cholesterol content.

Consuming too much can increase your cholesterol level. (105, 106)

A reassurance is that this is merely a precautionary point.

Many recent studies have concluded that there isn’t a significant link between saturated fats and heart disease. (107, 108, 109, 110)

In fact, lean cuts may prove beneficial against cholesterol. (111, 112, 113)

By trimming the fat from your steak, you can avoid many of the risks related to heart disease.

The reason why some observational studies showed a correlation could also be because people who consume a large amount of meat products are likely to eat fewer fruits and vegetables than they need, depriving them of requisite nutrients.

Another area of concern could be the alteration in neoplastic cells due to the conjugated linoleic acid in steak.

While CLA has many benefits, it could also influence cell replication, interfere with the cell cycle, or cause cell death. (114)

While this point is more relevant to ground meat than steak, there is a small chance of food poisoning when consuming raw or rare steak.

The chances are minimal, but you could experience food-borne illnesses, such E. coli, or experience a stomachache or vomiting for a few days.

You might also get beef tapeworm, an intestinal parasite, if your beef hasn’t been inspected before being sold.

Although this usually doesn’t occur, a severe infection could cause nausea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. (115, 116)

Just to avoid the chances of this happening, make sure you sear your steak on both sides, no matter the degree of doneness on the inside.

Many communities eat raw beef dishes, so you don’t have to worry, as long as your steak has been handled and stored carefully.

Since steak is one of the richest dietary sources of iron, it might cause iron overload, which could lead to heart disease, cancer, and liver problems.

You may suffer from iron overload if you have a genetic condition known as hereditary hemochromatosis, when excessive iron is absorbed from food.

If you have this condition, you should limit your steak consumption. (117, 118)

Grilled BBQ T-Bone Porterhouse Steak

Conclusion

 

Steak is not only delicious but also loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, which means that it can go a long way in improving your health, despite the assumption that red meats are detrimental to health.

Of course, like any other food, you should restrict your consumption to a healthy level.

It is worth noting that if you’re interested in steak for its many health benefits, you should aim to purchase grass-fed beef cuts over grain-fed.

Grass-fed beef has a far higher amount of antioxidants and carotenoids, a higher vitamin E content, less fat, more ruminant trans fat (which is healthy), and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. (119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124)

All in all, you can see that grass-fed beef is much healthier.

Regarding the taste of steak, you should know that the perfect steak is different for everyone.

Some people like a certain cut or a particular degree of doneness.

Others prefer a certain degree of aging or a special side dish.

So it might not be a good idea to dismiss steak entirely just after trying one or two varieties.

Once you’ve determined what kind of steak exactly matches your tastes, it might just end up becoming your favorite thing to eat!

Now that you know all you need to know about steak, you know that it could be to your advantage to incorporate more of it into your diet.

Scrumptious and full of benefits—could it get any better?

So rest easy, and may you enjoy many delectable pieces of steak!