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Bold news about lean beef, heart health

Try lean cuts of beef in new recipes, like the Szechuan Beef Stir-fry pictured here, as part of a heart-healthy diet. (Photo courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Recipe System)

February is American Heart Month. It's a month dedicated to educating the public about heart disease. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, nutrition and exercise, all help combat heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases, including strokes, are the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. With such grim statistics, it's more important than ever for Americans to understand how to make informed dietary choices.

South Dakota beef producers take pride in raising wholesome, safe and nutritious beef for your families. And here's some great news about lean beef -- sciencebased research continues to show lean beef is good for heart-health.

Thanks to the 2012 partially checkoff-funded BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet), findings offer substantive evidence that eating lean beef daily as part of an overall healthy diet can actually lower cholesterol -- and is as effective in doing so as the gold standard heart-healthy diet, which often emphasizes other animal or plant proteins and limits beef.

BOLD was a human clinical trial conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. Participants following BOLD diets consumed up to 5.4 oz. of lean beef daily. At the end of five weeks, they experienced a 10 percent drop in LDL (or "bad") cholesterol, and a drop in total cholesterol levels. The BOLD results were comparable to the gold standard of heart-healthy diets, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which was also consumed by study participants for comparison. Many of the BOLD menus incorporated recipes from the checkoff-funded The Healthy Beef Cookbook.

With more than 29 lean cuts of beef, including favorites like flank steak, tenderloin, 95 percent lean ground beef and T-Bone steaks, it's easy to find a variety of delicious, heart-healthy beef options for your next meal.

If you need more incentive, check out these fresh beef cuts, which have been certified to display the coveted American Heart Association's heart-check mark, signifying they meet AHA's criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. They include boneless top sirloin petite roast (USDA Select quality grade); top sirloin filet (USDA Select quality grade); top sirloin kabob (USDA Select quality grade); and top sirloin stir-fry (USDA Select quality grade.)

Give this Szechuan Beef Stir-fry recipe a try. It's an easy recipe, and it was one that was used in the BOLD study. For more information, visit or contact Holly Swee at (605) 224-4722.

Szechuan Beef Stir-fry

Total recipe time: 15 minutes


2 beef shoulder center steaks (ranch), cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)

1 package (10 ounces) fresh vegetable stir-fry blend

3 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 cups hot cooked rice or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt

1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts


1. Combine vegetables and water in large nonstick skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile cut beef steaks into 1/4-inch thick strips.

3. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef and 1/2 of garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.

4. Return all beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons; courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program.

-- Holly Swee is the director of nutrition and consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.