February is American Heart Month, dedicated to educating the public about heart health. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, nutrition and exercise, helps combat heart disease.

You may have heard that a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein, predominately from plant sources, is a commonly prescribed cardiovascular diet and is typically associated with decreases in blood pressure. However, there is a growing body of evidence that shows lean beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet, too.

New research published in the Journal of Human Hypertension titled Effects of a DASH-like Diet Containing Lean Beef on Vascular Health demonstrates that eating predominately lean beef as a protein source, as part of a dietary pattern rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, can significantly help reduce blood pressure. This study’s authors had previously concluded that lean beef included in a DASH-like diet can also reduce cholesterol levels. This evidence provides people the ability to include lean beef in a heart-healthy diet, which may help with diet adherence.

When choosing beef for a heart-healthy diet, look for lean cuts. Sixty-seven percent of all beef muscle cuts sold at retail meet the government guidelines for lean. An easy way you can identify lean beef is by looking for the words “loin” and “round” in the name.

Additionally, we are pleased to have support from the American Heart Association (AHA) through their Heart-Check mark program for these beef cuts that meet AHA’s criteria for saturated fat, cholesterol and over-all healthy eating.

The Heart-Check mark cuts include:

  • Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select grade)
  • Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select grade)
  • Top Sirloin Stir-Fry (USDA Select grade)
  • Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast (USDA Select grade)
  • Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select grade)
  • Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select grade)
  • Extra Lean Ground Beef 96% Lean 4% Fat

February is also National Hot Breakfast month. Research shows spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day and staying within your calorie goal supports overall health and wellness. Researchers suggests balancing 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.

Beef and Veggie Frittata Recipe

Building a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle around foods that you enjoy is important for diet adherence. Be sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables daily as well as whole-grains and low-fat or non-fat dairy along with your lean protein. This Beef and Veggie Frittata is a great breakfast or lunch option. It’s packed with high-quality protein along with vegetables. You can easily prepare it ahead of time to have ready for those “need something quick” meal options.