Lamb is a great source of protein, iron and zinc and it also delivers a healthy dose of vitamin B12 and niacin. As with most other red meats, lamb is relatively high in fat—particularly saturated fat; to lower the fat content, trim all visible fat and drain fat drippings from cooked ground lamb.
Lamb is not marbled (fat in the meat) as is beef. Over half of the fat in lamb is unsaturated. Only 36% of the fat in lamb is saturated. Most of the unsaturated fat is monounsaturated, commonly found in a healthy Mediterranean-type diet.
Lamb contains the fat that is good for you, consumed directly as part of the essential omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA), a liquid unsaturated acid. Lamb is one of the richest sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), part of the omega-6, possessing unique and potent antioxidant activity . CLA cannot be manufactured in the human body. Most of the lamb’s fat is on the outside edges and is easily trimmed. Only 175 calories, on average, in a 3 ounce serving. This is about 7% of the average caloric intake recommended for a 23-to-50 year old man.
Lamb is an excellent natural source of high quality protein. The protein in lamb is nutritionally complete, with all 8 essential amino acids in the proper ratio. A three ounce serving provides 43% of an adult male’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein.
As a source of easily absorbed iron, an average portion of lamb provides 20% of the RDA intake for men and 12% for women. Iron is vital in the formation of red blood cells. Lamb provides 45% of the daily requirement of zinc, essential for growth, healing and a healthy immune system.
Lamb is a great source of B vitamins, essential for metabolic reactions in the body. Lamb provides over 100% of the RDA of B12, (found solely in animal meat), for normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. A good source of thiamine (B1), essential to normal metabolism and nerve function.
Trace mineral elements such as copper, manganese and selenium are also found in lamb.
Lamb is divided into five basic cuts for cooking: shoulder (arm), rack, foreshank or breast, loin and leg. The leanest cuts of lamb come from the shoulder, loin and leg. The shoulder, foreshank or breast, and leg are tougher, more suitable for longer, moist-heat cooking methods, such as braising and stewing. The rack and loin are more tender; use quicker, dry-heat cooking, such as roasting or sautéing. Ground lamb is also readily available and can be used in the same ways as ground beef.
Lamb should be refrigerated immediately after purchase. Lamb meat can also be frozen—just be sure to wrap the original package in airtight freezer wrap or store in an airtight freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Use frozen lamb within 3-4 months for the best quality.
Excellent quality and flavor! We only eat Knob Hill lamb.
– Katie Yale Whitehurst, @facebook