The various guises of meat provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle recovery, iron to energize working muscles and zinc to boost immune defense during intense training. But not all meats are created equal—here’s how to select the best products for your body (and the planet).
Choose: Grass-fed beef
According to a 2010 study, grass-fed beef is a worthwhile splurge. Compared to their soy- and corn-stuffed brethren, grass-fed meat has higher levels of omega-3 fats, a beneficial fat called conjugated-linoleic acid (CLA), vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants such as glutathione. It also contains less saturated fats.
Smart buy: Look for the label “100 percent grass-fed and finished.” Or better yet, the green American Grassfed logo, which guarantees no antibiotics or hormones. Cuts that say “loin” (as in sirloin) and “round” (such as eye round roast) are the leanest.
Budget tip: Cuts on the bone are cheaper than options like tenderloin because processors charge extra for deboning.