It used to be practically a taboo to admit you liked beef, but guess what? This quintessential protein is healthier than you thought. It turns out that beef isn’t just OK to eat—it’s actually good for you, says Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., R.D. Take a look at what lean ground beef is packing:

  • It’s loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, including zinc, vitamin B6, and alpha lipoic acid. These are responsible for creating antibodies and keeping blood sugar levels in check.
  • A 3oz serving of 95% lean ground beef has just 164 calories and 4.5g of fat, but offers up 24g of protein.
  • Ground beef is also rich in iron, a multitasking mineral that boosts energy and keeps muscles working properly.

Now, we know. You’re worried about eating red meat too often. But relax, says O’Neil. You can safely eat lean red meat up to twice a week—just make sure you choose the right stuff at the supermarket. Go for at least 90% lean beef, because leaner beef is lower in fat and calories—but maintains almost the same protein content as fattier ones. Score.

Ready to add a little red into your meals? These seven ideas will make your mouth (and body) happy.