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Corned Beef – Nutritional Facts and Adverse Effects

Corned beef typically is salt-cured beef. It involves a curing process that helps preserve the beef for a long. First, the meat goes into a salt solution and is cured to preserve it. This curing process takes about 6-9 days. Then, makers add salt with other spices to enhance its flavour. It is often made from beef brisket, as it is a tough cut of meat. Makers use a brine solution to cure the beef brisket, then simmer it to tenderise and make it flavourful. You can also make it at home using a similar process.

Corned beef can be an ingredient in various dishes. However, it is prevalent in Jewish and Irish cuisine. People in the 17th CE gave the term “corned” in corned beef. That is because the size of the rock salt crystals was more like the size of corn kernels. Therefore it was called corned beef. 

Corned beef contains a variety of essential micronutrients and is rich in protein, which the body requires to build muscle, produce enzymes, and maintain tissue. However, it has a very high amount of sodium and fat. Therefore, it can harm people following a low-sodium or heart-healthy diet.

Nutritional Properties of Corned Beef

The USDA provides the following nutritional value for one hundred grams of cooked corned beef brisket.

Energy: 251 kcalCarbohydrate: 0.47 gProtein: 18.2 gFat: 19 gCholesterol: 98 mgCalcium: 8 mgIron: 1.86 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Corned beef is a processed form of beef. Hence, it does not contain as many nutrients as raw beef. In addition, since the process involves brining the beef with salt, it adds to the sodium content. However, corned beef contains various essential minerals like phosphorus, zinc etc. It is low in carbohydrates, high in proteins and has a reasonable amount of calories. 

Health Benefits of Corned Beef

Protein-Rich Food

Protein helps to develop muscle mass and strength. Studies show that protein insufficiency makes it difficult to get through the day and can impact energy and mood. Corned beef is rich in protein. Since it comprises all the nine essential amino acids, it is a complete protein. The amino acids include histidine (0.58g), lysine (1.54g), leucine (1.44g), isoleucine (0.827), methionine (0.473 g), phenylalanine (0.718g), threonine (0.726g), tryptophan (0.119), and valine (0.901 g). Corned beef is an excellent source of nutrients. 

Rich in Vitamin B Complex

Corned beef is a good source of vitamin B complex, essential for several body functions. 

Vitamin B helps maintain a healthy body. Vitamin B complex directly impacts our energy levels facilitating digestion by converting food into energy. It also enhances brain function and neurological functions and maintains healthy skin. 

Corned beef comprises adequate amount of thiamin (B1-0.026 mg), riboflavin ( B2-0.17mg), niacin (B3-3.03 mg), pantothenic acid (B5-0.42 mg), folate (B9-6 µg) and cobalamin (B12-1.63 µg). Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin only found in animal sources. Beef is a good source of vitamin B12. Studies indicate it plays a vital role in developing the brain cells and nerves. It is also vital for forming DNA and red blood cells (RBC).

Boosts Immunity 

Corned beef briskets are rich in zinc. Studies show that zinc is vital in wound healing, boosting the immune system, metabolic functions, and many more. Being zinc deficient can result in delayed wound healing, eye, and skin lesions, unexplained weight loss, etc. 

Prevents Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Corned beef contains an adequate amount of iron. Research shows iron intake is essential to prevent iron deficiency anaemia. It is a mineral that our body requires for proper growth and development. In addition, the body uses iron to produce haemoglobin in the red blood cells that carry oxygen to different body parts. 

Maintains Healthy Bones 

Corned beef is rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. These nutrients are essential in building healthy bones. Scientific evidence believes vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; therefore, all are crucial for building bone. Phosphorus also plays a critical structural role in nucleic acids and cell membranes. 

Boosts Thyroid Health

Numerous studies have proven the association of selenium supplementation in reducing autoimmune thyroiditis. Corned beef has a significant amount of selenium. Therefore, eating only a suitable amount is necessary to prevent thyroid disease and preserve overall health.

The HealthifyMe Note:

Corned beef provides various health benefits if consumed in moderation. It improves muscle growth and maintenance since it is high in protein, helps in boosting immunity, prevents anaemia, supports healthy bones, and boosts thyroid health. In addition, it is rich in vitamin B complexes that aids in overall good health. 

Possible Side Effects of Eating Corned Beef

High in Sodium 

One of the most severe issues with corned beef is its high salt level, which elevates blood pressure. Therefore, patients suffering from hypertension must avoid consuming corned beef. According to a study, taking more than 5,000 mg of sodium daily is associated with an elevated risk of a heart attack in patients with high blood pressure. However, an occasional corned beef dinner is unlikely to create any health issues, especially if you eat nutritious food daily. 

High in Cholesterol

Beef is red meat. Therefore it is high in cholesterol and saturated fats. A high amount of cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Since corned beef brisket undergoes processing, it can cause various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, coronary heart disease, stroke, certain cancer, and many more. 

Allergies

Beef allergies are unusual. On the other hand, a lone star tick bite can cause some people to acquire an unexpected sensitivity to red meat. A few common symptoms include runny nose, headaches, itching, hives, rash, sneezing, etc. Also, it’s likely to be allergic to the substances used to season corned beef (especially artificial additives). If allergic or sensitive to particular food additives, carefully study corned beef ingredient lists (nutritional label) before eating.

The HealthifyMe Note:

Corned beef has a high amount of sodium, cholesterol, and fats, which can cause health hazards. For example, excess consumption can lead to hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. However, as it is processed red meat, it is wise to take it in moderation.

Recipes with Corned Beef

Recipe to Cook Corned Beef Brisket at Home

Servings: 6-8 nos

Cooking Time: 3 hours

Ingredients For:

Pickling Spice

Whole allspice berries: 1 tbsp Whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow): 1 tbspCoriander seeds: 1 tbsp Red pepper flakes: 1 tbsp Whole black peppercorns: 1 tbsp Whole cloves: 2 tspWhole cardamom pods: 9Large bay leaves: 6 (crumbled)Ground ginger: 2 tspCinnamon- ½ stick 

Brine

Water: 3.8 LKosher salt: 300 gPink curing salt: 5 tsp (optional)Pickling spices: 3 tbspBrown sugar: ½ cup

Brisket

Beef brisket: 680 g Pickling spices: 1 tbsp

Method For:

Pickling Spice

To make your pickling spices, toast the allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom pods in a small frying pan on medium heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices slightly. You can also use a spoon’s back or the side of a knife on a flat surface. Add to a small bowl and stir the crumbled bay leaves and ground ginger.

Making Curing Brine

Add about 3 tbsp of the spice mix (reserve the rest for cooking the corned beef after it has cured) and the half stick of cinnamon to a gallon of water in a large pot, along with the kosher salt, pink salt (if using), and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until well chilled.

Brining the Brisket

Place the brisket in a large, flat container or pan, and cover with the brine. You should cover the meat with brine. Alternatively, you can use a 2-gallon freezer bag (placed in a container) to prevent leakage.Place the brisket in the freezer bag and about 2 quarts of brine, squeezing out the air from the bag before sealing.Place in the refrigerator and chill for 5-7 days. Flip the brisket daily so that all sides get brined equally.

Cooking the Brined Corned Beef

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse off the brine with cold water. Place the brisket in a large pot that just fits around the brisket and cover with at least one inch of water. If you want your brisket less salty, add another inch of water to the pot.Add a tbsp of the pickling spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a very low simmer (barely bubbling), and cook for 3-4 hours until the corned beef is fork-tender. (At this point, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week.)Cut it and serve. 

Note: You can still make corned beef if you don’t have pink salt. However, without it, the corned beef will be a dull grey colour.

Corned Beef Salad

Serving: 4

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Kosher salt: ¾ tspCucumber: 1 cupCarrots: ½ cupBrussel sprouts: 1 cupCherry tomatoes: ½ cup Black pepper: 1 tspOlive oil: 2 tbsp Corned beef briskets: 200 g 

Method

Tear the corned beef briskets into large shreds. Chop carrots and cucumber and mix with the shreds of beef brisket, Brussel sprouts, and cherry tomatoes.Add salt, black pepper, and olive oil and toss. Serve it!

Storage of Corned Beef

Cooked corned beef may be refrigerated for 3–4 days and frozen for 2–3 months. When storing corned beef, rinse the brine and cover it tightly. It will last in the freezer for a month.

Conclusion

Corned beef is a type of processed red meat produced by brining the brisket in a salt solution to flavour it. Even though corned beef comprises various vitamins and nutrients, its adverse effects dominate its benefits. The hazards of consuming red meat are no secret. Therefore, several health experts advise avoiding its consumption. Increased risks of health hazards and conditions are commonly associated with corned beef due to its high sodium and fat content. However, occasionally, healthy individuals consuming red meat or corned beef will not lead to significant health issues.

Consuming less than 100g of corned beef per week will not harm your health and provide nutritional benefits. The calorific value of beef is very high. Therefore, adhering to the rules of mindful eating will cause no adverse effects on a healthy individual.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is corned beef healthy for weight loss?

A. Corned Beef is not suitable for weight loss. According to USDA, 100 g of corned beef brisket contains 251 kcal. In addition, it is incredibly high in sodium and unsaturated fat, making it unhealthy for weight loss and overall health.

Q. Is corned beef healthier than regular beef?

A.The macronutrients of corned beef and regular beef do not differ much. However, the micronutrients are significantly higher in raw beef—for example, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc etc. In addition, raw beef (sodium- 66 mg per 100g) also has a lower sodium content than corned beef (sodium- 973 mg per 100g). Therefore, with higher nutritional values and lower sodium content, regular beef is healthier than corned beef. 

Q. Does corned beef make you fat?

A. According to USDA, 100g of corned beef contains 19g of fat. Corned beef is a salt-cured processed red meat high in sodium, cholesterol, and fat. Hence, it can cause weight gain and make you fat. Consuming in excess will lead to obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc. 

Q. Is corned beef safe?

A. Fresh corned beef is safe for consumption. However, corned beef subjected to improper storage is not safe for consumption as it may cause health hazards. If any unacceptable odour or taste is perceived, discard it.

Q. Is corned beef processed meat?

A. Certainly, corned beef is processed red meat. It is beef cured in a salt solution and then chopped, served, or sold. Since it is processed red meat, you must consume it in limited amounts. 

Q. Is corned beef good for cholesterol?

A.Beef is a type of red meat. Therefore, it is high in ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol. In addition, corned beef is high in sodium as it involves brining the brisket in salt. Patients suffering from hypercholesterolemia must restrict their consumption of high fatty foods. If you’re concerned about your cardiac health and cholesterol, limiting its consumption is advisable. 

Q. Can you get sick from corned beef?

A.Corned beef subjected to improper storage might cause health issues. For example, when corned beef is not cooked correctly or kept, it can provide a breeding ground for Clostridium perfringens, which cause stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Therefore, patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc., must avoid its consumption. 

Q. Can you eat corned beef cold?

A.People usually consume cooked corned beef warm because warming improves its taste and texture. However, you can also serve it cold. There are a variety of recipes wherein cold corned beef is used; for example, sandwiches, cold soups, salads, etc. 

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