We’re all for Meatless Mondays, and we believe in cutting back on our meat consumption for environmental and nutritional reasons. But over Memorial Day Weekend, we cave. Sometimes we think a burger is a good thing, and not just because we like to indulge. When made well and eaten in moderation, burgers actually can have some health benefits.
Here are our top six reasons for throwing a patty on the grill during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend:
1. Minerals. Ground beef contains a good dose of essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
2. Tryptophan. Burgers aren’t in happy meals for nothing: Ground beef contains large amounts of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that assists the body in producing seratonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes better brain function, mood improvement, and sleep. One four-ounce serving contains more than 100% of the daily recommended value, which may have something to do with that slight post-burger euphoria.
3. Protein. One three-ounce serving of lean ground beef has 23 grams of protein and 182 calories. That’s a great ratio, and an easy way to make sure you don’t plow through the chip bowls too fast at your barbecue.
4. Vitamin B-12. Beef is rich in in this energy-boosting, brain-powering vitamin, providing 35% of your daily recommended value per three-ounce serving. Diets high in vitamin B-12 and low in fat are also associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.
5. Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook beef. Grilling allows fats to drip off meat, rather than searing them in, so your cooked patties are leaner than pan-fried ones.
6. Grilling can be energy efficient (read: eco-friendly). During the height of summer, turning on the oven or stove raises the internal temperature of your home, and if you’ve got a thermostat, that means your A/C is working overtime to keep your house cool. Grilling outside can be more energy efficient in hot weather; just make sure you use a gas grill, the most environmentally friendly way to fuel your BBQ.
So over Memorial Day Weekend, we say it’s okay to eat a burger. Just make sure to do it in moderation, and use lean, organic (preferably grass-fed) beef whenever possible.