Important Nutrients Found in Beef
Beef contains a variety of nutrients that are necessary for healthy brain function. These include iron, zinc, and B vitamins that are are vital for foetal (fetal) brain development. They are also important for clear thinking, learning skills, and memory throughout all stages of. Those who are deficient in these nutrients later on in life often suffer with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and cognitive decline.
Iron is an essential nutrient for humans. In animals, iron is present mainly in the form of haemoglobin, a major component in blood. The molecule of haemoglobin is chemically known as a complex in which iron is the central atom that is chemically bound to four nitrogen atoms. The molecular structure is similar to that of chlorophyll which gives plants their green characteristic colour (in chlorophyll the central atom is magnesium). The heme form of iron found in beef, in which the iron atoms are complexed within a large molecule, is readily absorbed by the body when beef is digested. Research shows that a deficiency of iron in humans leads to cognitive issues that include poor memory along with learning and behavioural problems.
The haemoglobin in blood provides the mechanism by which oxygen is transferred from the lungs to the brain. It protects brain cells from damage and is also required to help enzymes perform certain functions in the brain that protect nerve fibres and produce neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of well-being and pleasure. Iron is a reasonably easy supplement to manufacture in the form of tablets.
Zinc is an important nutrient that is necessary for brain development and function. In animal studies, zinc deficiencies lead to behavioural problems, attention deficit, and short-term memory problems.
A lack of zinc in the diet leads to impaired brain function in both animal and human studies. In animals, it has been shown to cause brain malformation in early development. In later stages, it causes abnormalities that interfere with abilities to learn and think clearly.
Research shows that zinc-deficient infants improve in cognitive development after receiving zinc supplements. Cognitive function, which includes memory, learning, and clear thinking, is improved in all ages when zinc intake increases. Zinc can be taken as a dietary supplement and is commonly produced in capsules and tablets.
Around 40 percent of the daily recommended intake of selenium can be found in a 100 gram serving of beef. Selenium is a trace mineral that is an important component of selenoproteins, which act like antioxidants in the body and prevent free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Damaged cells are known to contribute to heart disease and cancer, so selenium may help lower the risk of these conditions developing.
The most prevalent vitamins found in beef are B vitamins. A 100g serving of beef provides almost 50 percent of the daily recommended value of B12. It also provides just over 25 percent of the daily recommended value of B6 (pyridoxine) as well as substantial levels of B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B9 (folic acid). Getting these nutrients from beef is more beneficial than taking them in dietary supplements as they seem to work together, making them more bioavailable as a whole. Researchers have found that these nutrients help aid in the absorption of plant nutrients as well – confirmation that a traditional dinner of beef and vegetables is a healthy meal.
The vitamins B12 and B9 are coenzymes that assist in the metabolism of all cells in the body, whereas the other B vitamins are pre-cursors to coenzymes. Lack of B12 and B9 vitamins leads to a macrocytic anemia, and elevated levels of homocysteine. The latter is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Men with low homocysteine in combination with higher levels of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 have been shown to enjoy improved memory and learning processes. Higher blood levels of B12 alone are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive problems and age-related mental decline.
Vitamins and minerals that are contained in beef are therefore essential for a healthy brain. From the prenatal stages all the way through older adulthood, iron, zinc, selenium and the B vitamins are necessary to keep your brain healthy and sharp. Beef combines these nutrients with other micronutrients, making them absorbable for maximum efficiency.