Beef, Functional, CLA, Nutraceuticals, Omega 3.
This essay covers the issue on whether or not beef is a functional food and several definitionsof a functional food are provided. A debate-like structure is utilised with varying arguments asto whether beef is a functional food. The use of Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in beef isdiscussed in depth as commonly for many it makes beef “functional”. The author concludedthat further scientific research and regulated definitions need to be provided before beef canbe classified as a functional food and with this there is potential.
Is beef a functional food?
The primary role of the diet is to meet nutritional needs of an individual to maintain optimalhealth. There is now scientific evidence that some food exceed their expectation just toprovide the basic nutrients to survive: these foods are called functional foods. Functionalfoods are defined as foods that provide disease preventing properties and/or healthpromoting benefits over and above their nutritional value . In addition to this it is thoughtthat functional foods contain a health promoting ingredient not normally present in that typeof food in a significant amount . Foods such Probiotic and Prebiotic yoghurts arefunctional foods as Probiotics improve the balance of bacteria in the gut preventing diseaseand Prebiotics stimulate the growth of ‘good’ bacteria to improve health . Beef is acommonly eaten food in the UK culture and is known to have many health benefits. It is anexcellent source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamins B12 and B6. It is also known to provideother nutrients or added substances that could possibly be beneficial to health but can beef really be considered a functional food?Beef naturally contains the polyunsaturated fatty acid Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA isproduced in the rumens of ruminant animals like cows as there is an anaerobic bacteriumcalled Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens that lives in the cow’s rumen and it biohydrogenates linoleicand linoleic acid into what is referred to as Conjugated linoleic acid . “Grass contains highamounts of linoleic and linoleic acid for the cow’s rumen to convert to CLA. This means that acow eating green grass will have more CLA present than a cow fed in confinement, in fact 2-3times more ”. A human would need to consume about 5 grams of CLA daily to achieve a