National Beef Month!
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May Is Beef Month! Beef is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of Australia, Argentina, Europe and America, and is also important in Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
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Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle (cows).
Beef is considered a taboo food in some cultures: especially in Hinduism (although not strictly forbidden), it is also discouraged among some Buddhists.

Beef muscle meat can be cut into steak, roasts or short ribs. Some cuts are processed (corned beef or beef jerky), and trimmings, usually mixed with meat from older, leaner cattle, are ground, minced or used in sausages. The blood is used in some varieties of blood sausage. Other parts that are eaten include the oxtail, tongue, tripe from the reticulum or rumen, gland (particularly the pancreas and thymus) referred to as sweetbread, the heart, the brain (although forbidden where there is a danger of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE), the liver, the kidneys, and the tender testicles of the bull (known in the US as calf fries, prairie oysters, or Rocky Mountain oysters). Some intestines are eaten as-is, but are used more often as natural sausage casings. The lungs and the udder are considered unfit for human consumption in the US. Beef bones are used for making beef stock.

Beef from steers and heifers are equivalent, except for steers having slightly less fat and more muscle, all treatments being equal. Depending on economics, the number of heifers kept for breeding varies. Older animals are used for beef when they are past their reproductive prime. The meat from older cows and bulls is usually tougher, so it is frequently used for mince (UK)/ground beef (US). Cattle raised for beef may be allowed to roam free on grasslands, or may be confined at some stage in pens as part of a large feeding operation called a feedlot, where they are usually fed a ration of grain, protein, roughage and a vitamin/mineral preblend.

In absolute numbers, the United States, the European Union, Brazil, and the People's Republic of China are the world's four largest consumers of beef. On a per capita basis, Argentines eat the most beef at 64.6 kg annually per person; people in the USA eat 40.2 kg annually, while those in the EU eat 16.9 kg.

The world's largest exporters of beef are Brazil, Australia, the United States. Beef production is also important to the economies of Uruguay, Nicaragua, Russia, and Mexico.
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History
The flesh of bovines has been eaten by hunters from prehistoric times; some of the earliest known cave paintings such as those of Lascaux show aurochs in hunting scenes. Domestication of cattle occurred around 8000 BC, providing ready access to beef, milk and leather. Most cattle originated in the Old World with the exception of bison hybrids. Examples include the Wagyu from Japan, Ankole-Watusi from Egypt, and longhorn Zebu from the Indian subcontinent. Cattle were widely used across the Old World for draft animals (oxen), milk production, or specifically for meat production, depending on local needs and resources. With mechanization of farming, some breeds were specifically bred to increase meat yield, like Chianina and Charolais or improve texture like the Murray Grey, Angus or Wagyu. Some breeds (dual-purpose) have been selected for meat and milk production, like Brown Swiss (Braunvieh).
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Etymology
The word beef is from Old French, in contrast to cow, which is Germanic. After the Norman Conquest, the French-speaking nobles who ruled England naturally used French words to refer to the meats they were served, while the Germanic words were retained to refer to the live animals.
















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Nutrition and health
Beef is a good source of minerals such as zinc, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins. Red meat is the most significant dietary source of carnitine and, like any other meat or fish, is a source of creatine.
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Health concerns
A study released in 2007 by the World Cancer Research Fund reported “strong evidence that red meat and processed meats are causes of bowel cancer” and recommends that people eat less than 500 grams (18 oz) of cooked red meat weekly, and as little processed meat as possible. The report also recommends that average consumption in populations should not exceed 300 grams (11 oz) per week, stating that this goal "corresponds to the level of consumption of red meat at which the risk of colorectal cancer can clearly be seen to rise." Lean beef, with its high selenium and B12 content, may actually lower the risk of colon cancer.

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that consumers eat red meat sparingly as it has high levels of undesirable saturated fat. Like some other animal products (such as whole milk), red meat provides a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid which may protect against several diseases along with the saturated fat. Beef's high content of B6 and B12 may help lower homocysteine.
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Thus the animal was called cu (cow) by the Anglo-Saxon peasants but the meat was called boef (ox) (Modern French boeuf) by the French nobles—who did not often deal with the live animal—when it was served to them for dinner.

This is one example of the common English dichotomy between the words for animals (with largely Germanic origins) and their meat (with Romanic origins) that is also found in such English word-pairs swine/pork, sheep/mutton, and chicken/poultry.
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