Wagyu beef is a type of beef that comes from Japanese cattle. It’s also called Kobe beef, and it has a reputation for being an expensive delicacy. Many people believe that Wagyu beef is healthier than other types of meat because it’s packed with protein and supposedly rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, some nutritionists have labeled Wagyu beef “the healthy red meat.” However, not all red meat is created equal. Although Wagyu contains healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), it also contains more saturated fat than other types of steak. When you eat too much saturated fat, your risk of developing heart disease increases. Moreover, Wagyu can be high in calories because it’s so dense with fat — around one gram of fat per ounce. This article explains everything you need to know about the pros, cons, and health benefits of eating Wagyu beef on a regular basis — or avoiding it altogether.
Is Wagyu Beef Healthy?
Wagyu beef is actually a very healthy choice for red meat. It has a lower fat content than other beef, and the fact that it does have is healthier because it’s mostly omega-3 fatty acids. Wagyu beef is also high in protein and nutrients like zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
Health Benefits Of Eating Wagyu Beef
1. It’s Rich In Protein And Iron
Wagyu beef is rich in protein and iron, which are two nutrients that your body needs to build muscle and stay energized. A 3.5-ounce serving of Wagyu beef contains about 20 grams of protein, which is the equivalent of what you’d find in a serving of salmon. In addition, Wagyu beef is rich in iron, which helps boost your immune system and carry oxygen throughout your body. However, it’s important to note that all red meat contains a type of iron that isn’t as easily absorbed by the body as the iron found in other sources like beans or spinach. Therefore, it’s important to eat foods that contain vitamin C with every meal containing red meat — such as a salad or fresh fruit — so you can absorb more of the iron from the meat.
2. It Contains Healthy Fatty Acids
Wagyu beef has healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids and CLA. Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, while CLA may promote lean muscle mass.
3. It’s High In B Vitamins
Wagyu beef is rich in B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, which helps ward off depression and fatigue, and thiamine (B1), which is essential for converting carbohydrates into energy. In addition, Wagyu contains vitamin B6, which plays a role in maintaining strong bones and fighting cancer.
4. It May Help You Lose Weight
Wagyu beef contains CLA, which helps promote lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. Research shows that eating 2.5 grams of CLA daily may help you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The Nutrition Of Wagyu Beef
1. The Protein Content Of Wagyu Beef
Like other types of steak, Wagyu beef is a good source of protein. It’s made up of about 18 percent protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. The proteins in Wagyu beef are rich in glutathione, which helps the body eliminate toxins and fight chronic diseases.
2. The Fat Content Of Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, making it a healthier choice than other types of red meat. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, which can improve heart health, reduce inflammation and enhance immunity. However, the amount of fat varies depending on the cut. For example, ribeye cuts contain more fat than filet mignon cuts. A 3-ounce serving of ribeye contains 10 grams of total fat compared to 8 grams of total fat in a 3-ounce serving of filet mignon. On average, Wagyu beef contains about 5 grams of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving.
3. The Cholesterol Content Of Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is high in cholesterol about 80 milligrams per 3-ounce serving. Although this is less than the amount found in chicken or pork, it’s still higher than the amount found in most other types of red meat. For example, a 3-ounce serving of flank steak contains just 19 milligrams of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, consuming too much cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. To reduce your risk, try to limit your intake to 20 milligrams or less per day.
4. The Minerals And Vitamins In Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef contains a wide variety of important minerals and vitamins. For example, it contains iron, zinc, and selenium. Deficiencies of these nutrients can cause anemia, fatigue, and mental confusion. Likewise, consuming too much iron can cause stomach problems, nausea, and diarrhea. Zinc is needed for wound healing and immune function as well as for regulating blood sugar levels. Selenium is needed for the production of thyroid hormone and for maintaining healthy skin and hair.
5. The Nutrient Content Of Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is high in healthy unsaturated fats, which combat heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce inflammation a major risk factor for heart disease — as well as CLA which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, this meat has less iron than other varieties do — about 10 percent less per serving compared to chicken or pork.
The Pros Of Eating Wagyu
1. It’s High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Wagyu beef contains omega-3 fatty acids, which also make up the essential fats found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart health and can help prevent cardiovascular disease. In fact, one serving of Wagyu beef contains 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which is almost twice the amount of the regular red meat — 0.9 grams — that you’ll find in a 10-ounce serving (1 ounce) of any other kind of steak (1). The omega-3 fatty acids that you get from eating Wagyu beef are also found in fish oil supplements, so you can take them if you want to obtain more health benefits from your steak.
2. It’s High In Conjugated Linoleic Acid
In addition to containing omega-3 fatty acids, Wagyu beef is also high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a type of fat that your body can convert into testosterone. It also has antioxidant properties and may help protect against disease and cancer. In fact, one serving of Wagyu beef contains 1 gram of CLA, which is more than double the amount you’ll find in a 10-ounce serving (0.9 grams) of any other type of steak.
3. It Contains Calcium And Vitamin D
Although it doesn’t contain as much calcium as other types of beef, Wagyu beef still contains an adequate amount. One serving contains 300 milligrams of calcium, which is the same amount you’ll find in one cup of milk or three cups of low-fat yogurt (3). If you don’t eat dairy products or have a hard time digesting them, then make sure to get some vitamin D from the sun instead — just be sure to avoid sunburns by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
4. It Contains Zinc, Iron, And Vitamin B12
Although the amount of zinc in Wagyu beef is small, it’s still higher than the amount you’ll find in other types of steak. One serving contains 3 milligrams of zinc, which is 1/3 the amount found in one cup of low-fat yogurt. You’ll also find 5 percent of your daily iron intake in a serving. Lastly, vitamin B12 is present in small amounts as well.
The Cons Of Eating Wagyu
1. It’s High In Fat
Wagyu is not just any type of beef. It’s a special breed of Japanese cattle that is specifically raised for consumption. The cattle are fed special diets that include grains, vegetables, and fruits. Their meat is prized for its marbled fat content — around 1 gram of fat per ounce (about 3 times the amount in most other types of beef). Because Wagyu beef is so rich in fat, it’s a great source of calories. One serving (about three ounces) can contain up to 400 calories. This can make it one of the most calorie-dense cuts of beef on the market.
2. It Can Be Very Expensive
Wagyu beef has a reputation for being very expensive, particularly when compared to other cuts of steak. You might think that this is because Wagyu cattle are raised in Japan and have access to quality foods like organic grass feed and fresh water, but this is not the case. Although Wagyu cattle are fed a special diet, they also have access to an abundance of grass in their natural environment. This means that they are not necessarily raised on organic feed.
3. It Can Be Very High In Calories
Wagyu beef is extremely high in fat and calories because it comes from a breed of cattle that has a reputation for producing large amounts of marbling. A 3-ounce serving of Wagyu beef (about 200 grams) can contain up to 400 calories a whopping 60 percent more than the average steak. In order to get the same amount of calories from a regular steak, you’d need to eat two 3-ounce servings or 1 pound of meat!
Wagyu beef is a great source of protein, B vitamins, and healthy fats, but it’s not as healthy as many people think. In fact, Wagyu contains more saturated fat than other types of steak, and eating too much can raise your risk of developing heart disease. Wagyu is also higher in calories because it’s so dense with fat. The best way to enjoy Wagyu beef is to serve it as a small side dish or part of a healthy, balanced diet that includes fiber-rich vegetables, whole grains, and quality protein like fish, eggs, and legumes.