Brisket Just Might Be Good For You

Slicing Brisket
Photo: Michelle Bishop/Getty Images

Rejoice, barbecue lovers: brisket is good for you.

A team of clever researchers at Texas A&M set out to prove that barbecue is not just a good taste, but good for you, too. They found that beef brisket contains high levels of oleic acid. Why do you want high levels of oleic acid in your brisket? For two reasons: Oleic acid produces high levels of HDLs, or what your doctor will tell you is the "good" kind of cholesterol that helps lower your risk of heart disease, and it lowers LDLs, or the "bad" type of cholesterol, which increases your risk of cardiac issues.

"Brisket has higher oleic acid than the flank or plate, which are the trims typically used to produce ground beef," said Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist. "The fat in brisket also has a low melting point, that's why the brisket is so juicy."

If brisket isn't served at your go-to barbecue joint, either get a new barbecue joint or keep in mind that researchers say this also applies to a lesser extent to most ground beef.

"The brisket has become one of the preferred trims to produce ground beef," said Smith, who is also a professor in the department of animal science at Texas A&M. "Americans consume over 50 percent of their beef as ground beef. They use it in many recipes, not just to make hamburgers. Also, more than 25 percent of the beef carcass is used to produce ground beef, which improves the sustainability of beef production."

WATCH: How to Make Smoked Brisket

In addition to brisket, Smith notes that "oleic acid is very high in Japanese Black cattle such as American Wagyu beef," as well as brisket or grain-fed beef from Angus, Wagyu or Akaushi cattle. So you can look for either of those options in the grocery store.

In his studies at Texas A&M, Smith had participants consume five beef patties a week for five or six weeks. If the idea of eating that much ground beef made you clutch your pearls in horror, Smith has some good news for you: "Ground beef is not going to kill you," he said. "When you take the beef out of fat, it reduces LDL, but also reduces HDL," he said. "Our studies have shown that fat is a very important component of beef." His studies have shown that HDL, the good cholesterol, always increased in men and women who ate ground beef that was high in oleic acid.

Keep that in mind the next time you're pulling out the grill.

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