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Beef is the meat from adult bovines, including cattle. There are many different cuts of beef, with a wide range to textures and fat content. Beef is high in protein and a good source of many minerals and B Vitamins. Beef is very strengthening to the weak and ill person but should be eaten in moderation by everyone as excess can lead to many health problems.

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What it is

Beef is the culinary name for meat of adult bovines, usually cattle, over one year old. Whereas, meat of younger cattle is called veal.

The beef from the muscle is cut in different ways in different cultures, in the west is it is usually cut into steaks, roasts, ribs or ground/minced. The different cuts from different parts of the animal vary greatly in tenderness, fat content and texture. This makes beef very versatile in the kitchen. The leanest, that is the most muscular, meat cuts are those from the back legs as the animals use their back legs to move around. These include the eye cuts and the round or rump cuts. The fattiest cuts of beef come from the underbelly of the animal, including the brisket, and all the rib cuts.
The blood is often used in what is called blood sausage, popular in the UK and many other European countries. People also eat the tongue, tripe from the stomach, glands; particularly the pancreas and thymus, referred to as sweetbreads, bone marrow and the organs; the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys, the testicles of the bull (known in the US as "calf fries", "prairie oysters", or "Rocky Mountain oysters"), intestines, and the udder. Beef bones and their marrow are used for making soup.

US Beef Cuts:


Us beef cuts


British and Australian Beef cuts:


British beef cuts diagram

A group independent of cattle growers usually grades beef based on three factors: conformation (the proportion of meat to bone), finish (proportion of fat to lean muscle) and overall quality. The grading varies from country to country, there being 8 grades in the US and 10 grades in Australia. In Australia the upper grade is grade 10. This beef is very scarce, being mostly exported and costing upwards of about 100 Australian dollars per kilo. Prime grade US beef and other upper grades there and in Australian and UK are sold to high-end restaurants and specialty butchers. The low grades of beef are used for sausages or canning with the middle grades are those usually sold in butchers and supermarkets and eaten my the majority of people.
Beef is one of the main meats eaten in most western countries including The Americas, Australia, Brittan and Europe. It is also widely used in Africa, the eastern parts of Asia. In the Middle East and North Africa Lamb is preferred over beef. In Hindu cultures beef is forbidden, as bovines are sacred animals. Many Buddhists also discourage eating beef.

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What is in it

The most important nutritional feature of meat is that it has a similar cell structure to humans. That means that the nutrients in meat are rapidly absorbed into the body and easily transformed into tissue and blood. This can explain the rush of energy that comes from eating meat.

Beef is a very good source of protein and vitamin B12, it is also a good source of the minerals zinc, selenium, phosphorus and iron and the B vitamins, B6 (pyridoxine), B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin)
Meat is low in Carbohydrates and contains no fiber.
Beef fat is very high in saturated fat as compared to the low levels of saturated fats found in most vegetal products.

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What it is good for

When eaten in moderation beef,

  • Strengthens the spleen-pancreas
  • Strengthens the stomach
  • Builds the blood
  • Strengthens the sinews and bones
  • Treats emaciation
  • Helps in the wasting stages on diabetes
  • Strengthens those with general weakness
  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Strengthens weak knees
Beef should not be eaten by those with hepatitis (inflammation or damage to the liver) or nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).
A further philosophy tells us “like heals like”. So, eat animal parts that correspond to the part that is imbalanced in the body. So, eat liver to treat a liver disorder. Kidney to treat kidney conditions, and so on.
Beef Liver strengthens the liver and is commonly used to treat eye conditions such as blurred vision, night blindness, and glaucoma.
Beef kidney strengthens the kidneys and treats kidney related conditions such as impotence, lack of sexual drive, low backache, weak knees and bones and hearing difficulty.
BEWARE: organs, particularly the liver and kidney, trap the toxins that are in the animal, for this reason only eat organic meat.

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When you get it

Meat can be found in butcheries and markets year around.

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Which to select

Whenever possible eat organically grown beef as this means you will not be eating pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals used in most mass beef production. Also were possible choose free range beef as these animals have a higher quality of life and usually graze, having a more natural and healthy diet which is also passed on to the people who eat the meat.

Always look at the use-by date on pre-packaged beef to ensure it is in date.
The muscle in red meat should be deep red-purple in color, with no brown or grayness in the as this is a sign that the meat has been exposed to excessive oxygen and is spoiled.
The fat can be yellowish or white, the color may depend on the diet of the animal, the yellow maybe a sign of increased beta-carotene.
Buy meat with the least amount of fat, the lean cuts, those from the back legs of the animal, the round or rump cuts being the leanest.

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Where to store

Meats are highly perishable and should always kept cold. Wrapped tightly to reduce air contact. Store meat in the refrigerator where it will stay fresh for up to several days depending on the cut. The lager the piece of meat the longer it will keep. Mince or ground beef will keep for about 2 days, other cuts for one or 2 days longer. Freezing meat will allow it to be kept for several months, up to 6 months for large cuts.

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How to use

Beef should be trimmed of all visible fat before cooking. It can be ground, diced, sliced and can then be roasted, steamed, boiled, fried or stir-fried. In many European countries, Korea, Africa and the Middle East you will find dishes also made from raw beef, for example Steak Tartare and Carpaccio of beef.

  • Roast whole pieces of beef
  • Stir-fry beef with vegetables and sauces
  • Grill steaks on a hotplate or BBQ
  • Stew or casserole beef with vegetables

Grilled or roast beef can be cooked to various degrees, from very rare to well done. The degree of cooking corresponds to the temperature in the approximate center of the meat, which can be measured with a meat thermometer.


Cooked: Temperature Description
Very rare 46°C – 52°C Blood-red meat, soft, very juicy
Rare 52 – 54°C Red center, gray surface, soft, juicy
Medium rare 54 – 60°C Pink throughout, gray-brown surface, often remains juicy
Medium 60 – 66°C Pink center, becomes gray-brown towards surface
Medium well 66 – 71°C Thin line of pink, firm texture.
Well done >71°C Gray-brown throughout, tough texture.

Cooking with moist heat:


Tougher cuts of beef from the round, brisket, flank, plate, shank, shin, leg, and chuck are best cooked by moist heat cooking methods, such as braising, pot roasting, and stewing.
    * Stewing is simmering meat, whole or cut into bite-size pieces, in a water-based liquid with flavorings.
    * Braising is cooking meats, in a covered container, with small amounts of liquids (usually seasoned or flavored). Unlike stewing, braised meat is not fully immersed in liquid.
Meat has usually been cooked in water that is just simmering; higher temperatures make meat tougher. Cooking at temperatures well below boiling, 65 °C (149 °F) to 90 °C (194 °F), for prolonged periods has become possible; this is just hot enough to dissolve connective tissue and kill bacteria, with minimal toughening.
These moist methods of cooking break the meat down to a point were it is more easily digested.
When you eat meat add vegetables from the cruciferous family, like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. These vegetables are high in phytonutrients that will assist detoxification and will help reduce the risks of some cancers. They also digest more slowly that many other vegetables, bringing then more in line with meat digestion, which can improve digestion.

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How much you need

Limit your consumption of red meat to once a week (or about 500g maximum) and white meat to twice a week. Eat as little cured meat as possible.

Eating red meat more that 2 times a week and white meat more than 3 times a week is considered excessive and may lead to many health problems.
Enjoy more meals with fish, whole grains, legumes and eggs.

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Things to watch out for

Eating more that 8 serving of red meat a month and 12 servings of white meat a month is considered excessive. Limit the amount of meat you eat.

Do not eat processed composite meat products like luncheon meats, salami or commercially produced sausages. If you cannot see the whole piece of meat before you buy it, then it is best avoided as the cuts of meat usually used to produce these product are often of the lowest quality and can often be contaminated in the process.
The eating of red meat and processed meats have been linked to a higher risk of
  • Cancers of the:
    • Lungs
    • Liver
    • Esophagus
    • Colon
    • Breast
    • Prostate
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Excess body fat
Beef can transmit diseases, but complete cooking and avoiding recontamination can reduce this risk.
Eating meat means that the body will absorb the toxins that are in the meat. This is one good reason to eat only organic meats. Particularly when eating animals organs.

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