Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with the executive director of nutrition research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dr. Shalene McNeill. Hays and McNeill talk about beef nutrition.
“I think nutrition is more important than ever before, and I think Covid really helped illuminate and bring more attention on nutrition,” McNeill said. “People are wanting to cook at home more often, becoming even more health conscious, and we have great content and research that we can share with consumers in this current mindset that they are in about the way that beef nourishes them.”
As a registered dietitian and a mother, McNeill talked about how many children and teenagers are not getting all of the nutrients they need.
“What the research is beginning to show is that beef is such a critical nutrient as we have known for a long time for children and the growing years but adolescents- teenagers- just really have important nutrient gaps,” McNeill said. “They are not getting enough iron, they are not getting enough zinc, they are not getting enough choline. These are things that, for example, experts like the Dietary Guidelines Committee have brought to life that we have got to do a better job of closing these nutrition gaps, and beef can do that for our adolescents and teens, and we are starting to raise awareness on that with health professionals.”
A campaign, directed by NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, called “Beef in the Early Years,” is aimed at educating consumers and healthcare professionals about the guidelines that say infants starting around six months of age should be consuming iron-rich foods such as beef to help nourish them.
“I think we have reached over 32 million consumers with our campaign on the early years, so we want to build off of that success and start raising awareness about teenage diets as well,” McNeill said.
As February was “American Heart Month,” McNeill also talked about the story beef has to tell when it comes to heart health during that month, and throughout the year.
“The beef story is great on heart health, and we still see consumer research that reminds us as a beef industry that we need to talk to consumers about the way that beef can support heart health, because we have a great amount of research that has been conducted over the years,” McNeill said. “Every single time these studies show that you can incorporate beef in a heart-healthy diet that is balanced, a balanced healthy eating plan, and you can improve your cholesterol levels, you can improve your heart health outcomes, so we have got that important story to tell, and we are doing that.”
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