Despite the name, corned beef has nothing to do with corn. In Anglo-Saxon times, well before refrigeration, beef was preserved by rubbing it with "corns" of salt. Today, a brine solution replaces the corning process, but the original name has stuck. Salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and other spices give corned beef its distinctive flavor. Typically made from less tender cuts like brisket, rump or round roasts, corned beef provides good nutritional value.
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Fat and calories
The US Department of Agriculture does not distinguish corned beef nutritional information from lean corned beef. Fat is marbled throughout the cut. However, corned beef can be made more lean by removing the layer of fat that butchers usually leave in place on one side of the roast. The other nutrition -- protein, minerals, fatty acids and vitamins -- are contained in the muscle itself, not the fat layer.
A 3-oz serving of corned beef has about 213 calories with 146 of those, 68 per cent, a result of fat content. The total amount of fat in a serving is 16g, 5g of which is saturated fat. A single serving of corned beef contains around a quarter of the daily recommended value of fats. In addition, a serving of corned beef also has 83g of cholesterol.
A serving of corned beef is a good source of protein, with 15g supplying 31 per cent of an adult's minimum daily requirement. While corned beef does have a strong mix of essential amino acids, it is best paired with leafy greens like spinach to give it a well-rounded amino acid score. Not all protein sources, including meats, have all 19 essential amino acids in proportions needed by the body. Corned beef, for example is strong on most amino acids but weak in tryptophan, which is why it is best paired with spinach or other dark, leafy greens, to round out the amino acid profile.
Lean corned beef is a good source of vitamin B12 and niacin, supplying 23 per cent and 13 per cent respectively of daily values. Vitamin B6 and riboflavin are present, but in lesser quantities. Corned beef has 9 per cent of an adult's requirement of riboflavin and 10 per cent of vitamin B6. Lean corned beef has no vitamin A or C, and only trace amounts of thiamin and vitamins E and K.
Since it is soaked in brine during the pickling process, corned beef is high in sodium with 964 grams in a serving, 40 per cent of an adult's requirement. Lean corned beef is a good source of zinc and selenium, supplying 26 per cent and 40 per cent respectively of these minerals.
While not an outstanding source of heart-healthy omega fatty acids, lean corned beef does provide a small amount. A serving contains 0.46g of omega-6 and 0.11g of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the US Institute of Medicine, recommended daily allowances for fatty acids varies by age. The institute recommends 17g per day of omega-6 for adult men and 12g per day for adult women. Omega-3 intake is recommended at 1.6g per day for adult men and 1.1g per day for adult women.
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