What Are the Health Benefits of Hamburgers?

Hamburgers have a bad reputation. High in fat and calories, they may be the first food scratched off your menu when you decide to eat healthy. Before you rule out hamburgers for good, take a look at some of the health benefits they can deliver. If eaten only on occasion, hamburgers, especially those made with lean ground beef, can boost your health rather than impair it.

CLA

bacon cheese burger with beef patty tomato onionBeef is high in a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. In 1978, scientists at the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin found that grilled hamburger extract contained compounds that fought cancer growth. That compound turned out to be CLA. Today, CLA is known for more benefits, including the ability to fight inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, and to promote weight loss and prevent weight gain. To get the most out of your hamburger, choose beef from grass-fed or free-range animals, as opposed to grain-fed animals. The March 2010 issue of “Nutrition Journal” reports that grass-fed beef has a higher CLA content, but lower overall fat content.

Protein

Every cell in your body contains protein, which makes it vital for good health. It is constantly broken down and replaced and therefore needs to be continually taken in through diet. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 3-ounce burger made with 90 percent lean ground beef contains 21.4 grams of protein, or roughly 43 percent of the recommended daily intake of 50 grams.