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Lamb

 

Lamb is a high-quality, nutritious meat, rich in easily absorbed minerals and B vitamins, particularly B12. Lamb comes from sheep less than one year of age and often as young as 5 to 7 months. Special varieties include baby or hot-house lamb, which is only 6 to 10 weeks old, and the meat of lambs raised in salt marshes, which has an unmistakably briny tang. Mutton comes from sheep older than one year, and it has a more robust taste. Lamb comes in a variety of cuts including legs, shoulder, roast, chops, ground, foreshank, and spareribs.

 

Lamb is the primary meat in parts of Europe, North Africa, the Middle east, and India. But it has never enjoyed the same popularity in North America. In 2000, for example, per capital consumption of lamb was only 1.12 lb (0.5 kg), while the average North American consumes more than 50 lb (22.7 kg) of beef.

 

RICH IN NUTRITION

Among red meats, lamb stands out for its high nutritional value. Although some cuts are high in fat, lamb is not marbled like beef. since much of its fat is on the outside of the meat, it can be trimmed before cooking. In addition, the meat is tender, because it is the relatively little-used muscle of young animals. A 3-oz (85-g) portion of roasted lean lamb contains approximately 200 calories, with about 22 g of protein and less than 10 g of fat.

 

Lamb is a rich source of protein, B-complex vitamins, as well as iron, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. Because it is easily digestible and almost never associated with food allergies, it is a good protein food for people of all ages.

 

Lamb is a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a group of fatty acids that occur naturally in meat and milk products from ruminant animals. Animal studies have found that CLA improved cholesterol profiles and delayed the development of atherosclerosis. In addition, CLA may have anti-carcinogenic properties. Although it is premature to draw definitive conclusions about the protective benefits of CLAs, there is growing interest and research in this area.

     
     

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