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USDA Adds Nutrition Labels to Raw Meat

March marks the start of nutrition labels for raw meat and poultry. The new USDA rule states that nutrition information must be made available for most ground meat and ground poultry and for popular cuts of the two.

Previously, the USDA only required nutrition labels on meat that had added ingredients like stuffing or a marinade sauce. Now, all ground meat and poultry must carry a label. Along with ground meat 40 popular cuts will also be required to post a label either on the product or on a nearby chart. Some of those cuts include beef porterhouse steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops.

The labels will provide the calorie and fat content of the meat. If the product shows a percentage of lean meat, it must also include the percentage of fat.

The labels do not have to include amount of trans fat though. This is not a requirement as the USDA estimated that nearly 80 percent of all nutrition labels list trans fat voluntarily.

There is an exception to the new labeling rule. Small meat grinding businesses are exempt. As long as the business provides lean and fat content information and makes no other nutrition claims on the package, they do not have to provide the other content in a label.

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Mineral Basics: Your Complete Guide to Iron

Although iron is classified as a trace mineral, it’s essential for overall health. Many of the body’s functions rely on iron and if you get too little, your body can’t function properly. On the flip side, getting too much can also be detrimental to your health.

There are two main types of iron; heme and non-heme. Heme iron is the type found in meat, poultry and fish. Non-heme, on the other hand, can be found in both plant and animal sources. The biggest difference between the two types is how well the body absorbs them. Heme iron is much more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, yet most of our dietary supply comes from non-heme sources. Enriched breads and cereals, lentils, legumes, dark leafy greens, and some dried fruits are foods rich in this type of iron. Although the iron found in these foods is typically harder to absorb, your can improve your body’s absorption rate by pairing your non-heme-rich food sources with a food high in heme iron, vitamin C, citric or lactic acid, and certain sugars.

Most of the body’s iron is found within two proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in the body’s red blood cells while myoglobin is found in the muscle cells. In both, iron helps accept, carry, and release oxygen to the cells of the body. In addition, iron keeps your immune system strong and helps your body produce energy.


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Healthy Recipes to Cook for Kwanzaa

Most of us know that Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States between Christmas and New Years to honor African-American heritage and culture. For most Americans, there is practically no such thing as a celebration without food, so we pulled together some of our favorite recipes for Kwanzaa.

Although Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, created in 1966, the foods used to celebrate it are based on old traditions. According to Donna Mintz, a New York City-based personal chef, savory stews and jerk-seasoned meat are excellent additions to your Kwanzaa menu.


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