Is Ground Lamb Healthy?

Acabonac Farms |

For those who make mindful decisions about the food they eat, ground lamb is a popular choice for the dinner table. Lamb provides an excellent source of high-quality protein, numerous vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids that benefit heart health. In addition to these benefits, ground lamb offers a robust flavor profile. This combination of flavor and nutrition makes ground lamb a smart choice for those who prioritize health and nutrition.

Of course, the quality of ground lamb varies depending on the type you choose to eat. At Acabonac Farms, we specialize in grass-fed lamb that provides even more nutritional benefits than traditional lamb. We are the premium online source for pasture-raised ground lamb.

Key Takeaways

  • Lamb is a good source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
  • Lamb provides important nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc, iron and selenium.
  • Lamb contains healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Ground lamb can be higher in saturated fat compared to other meats. Choosing leaner, grass-fed cuts and using certain cooking methods can enhance its health benefits.
  • Ground lamb is a healthy, versatile meat used in a variety of dishes. 

What is Ground Lamb?

Ground lamb is made from the muscle of a lamb that has been boned and finely chopped or ground. It is known for its rich, complex flavor and tender texture. 

Ground lamb is a key ingredient for both traditional and modern dishes. It’s often used to make meatballs or patties, including Greek keftedes, Turkish köfte or lamb burgers. It’s also frequently used as a filling for vegetables, pastries and pies. Cooks use ground lamb in many sauces, stews and chilis, including Bolognese sauce and lamb chili.

Traditional dishes that have ground lamb as a key ingredient include Ground Lamb Shepherd's Pie, a classic British dish made with ground lamb, mixed vegetables and topped with creamy mashed potatoes. The Greek casserole moussaka layers ground lamb with eggplant, potatoes and béchamel sauce, while the Middle Eastern dish lamb kofta involves spiced ground lamb shaped into meatballs or patties and grilled or baked, commonly served with pita bread and yogurt sauce.

Ground lamb is also used to make tacos, providing a modern twist on traditional tacos that use spiced ground lamb as the filling. Ground and seasoned lamb is also a great alternative for grilled or pan-fried burgers.

Is ground lamb healthy

Ground Lamb Nutritional Facts

The following looks at nutritional facts for ground lamb in several key areas.

Macronutrients in Ground Lamb (1 lb. of raw lamb meat)

  • Protein: 19 grams
  • Saturated Fats: 10 grams
  • Unsaturated Fats: 13 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 

Vitamins in Ground Lamb

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin A

Minerals in Ground Lamb

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Calories in Ground Lamb

Ground lamb contains between 250 and 280 calories per 100-gram serving. The calorie content can vary depending on the fat content of the lamb. 

In comparison, ground beef that is 70% to 80% lean contains between 250 and 290 calories. Ground turkey that is 85% to 95% lean contains 170 to 200 calories, as does ground chicken that is 85% to 95% lean. Ground pork contains 240 to 290 calories.

Benefits of Grass-Fed Ground Lamb

When comparing grass-fed ground lamb to traditionally raised (grain-fed) lamb, several nutritional differences arise due to their distinct diets. Grass-fed ground lamb generally has higher levels of the following. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for heart health, reducing inflammation, and supporting brain function. 

Better Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio. A balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is important for reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA is a type of fat that has been linked to various health benefits, including improved immune function, reduced body fat and potentially reduced risk of heart disease.

Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports immune function.

Grass-fed ground lamb also has lower overall saturated fat content, which is beneficial for heart health.

Health Benefits of Ground Lamb

Ground lamb offers several health benefits due to its rich nutrient profile. Here are some of the key health benefits.

High-Quality Protein

Ground lamb is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle growth, repair and maintenance. Protein also plays a vital role in immune function, hormone production and overall cellular health.

Rich in Essential Vitamins

Vitamin B12. Essential for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Helps prevent anemia and supports brain health.

Vitamin B6. Important for protein metabolism, cognitive development, and the production of neurotransmitters. Supports immune function and brain health.

Niacin (Vitamin B3). Helps convert food into energy, supports skin health and aids in the functioning of the digestive system. Reduces cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Involved in energy production and cellular function, growth, and development. Promotes healthy skin and eyes.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5). Crucial for synthesizing coenzyme A, which is involved in fatty acid metabolism. Supports the production of hormones and cholesterol.

Folate (Vitamin B9). Necessary for DNA synthesis and repair, and critical during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy and infancy. Prevents neural tube defects in developing fetuses.

Vitamin A. Important for vision, immune function, and reproduction. Supports healthy skin and eyes.

Abundant in Essential Minerals

Iron. Essential for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Helps prevent anemia and supports overall energy levels.

Zinc. Important for immune function, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Supports a healthy immune system, wound healing, and normal growth and development.

Phosphorus. Vital for the formation of bones and teeth, and involved in energy metabolism. Supports healthy bones and teeth, and aids in the body's energy production.

Selenium. Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, and plays a role in thyroid function. Supports the immune system and thyroid health.

Potassium. Important for maintaining proper muscle function and fluid balance. Helps regulate blood pressure and supports heart health.

Magnesium. Involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, including muscle and nerve function, and protein synthesis. Supports muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, and bone health.

How to Incorporate Ground Lamb Healthily in Your Diet

One of the keys to making the most of the nutritional benefits of ground lamb is knowing how to find the healthiest meat and how much to include in your diet. For example, while ground lamb can be high in saturated fats, choosing grass-fed ground lamb reduces the saturated fat content.

Portion control is important to avoid excessive calorie and fat intake - - around three to four ounces per serving is the typical recommendation. It’s also key to eat a balanced diet that includes foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals to complement the nutrients in ground lamb.

How often should you eat ground lamb if you are watching your cholesterol? As with all red meat, it’s important to consume ground lamb in moderation. A common recommendation is to limit yourself to one to two servings per week.

Healthy Dish Ideas That Incorporate Ground Lamb

Ground lamb is a central ingredient in a variety of healthy, delicious and nutritious dishes. Here are some easy ground lamb recipes and ideas for incorporating ground lamb into healthy meals.

Greek lamb salad. Cook ground lamb with garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Assemble salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives and feta cheese. Top with cooked lamb and drizzle with a dressing made from lemon juice and olive oil.

Lamb and vegetable stir-fry.  Cook ground lamb with garlic and ginger. Add chopped vegetables and stir-fry until tender. Season with soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Stuffed bell peppers. Cook quinoa or brown rice separately. Sauté ground lamb with onions, garlic and spinach. Mix in cooked quinoa or rice and tomatoes. Stuff the mixture into halved bell peppers and bake until peppers are tender. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.

Lamb lettuce wraps. Cook ground lamb with garlic and ginger. Add soy sauce and hoisin sauce for flavor. Serve the lamb mixture in lettuce leaves, topped with julienned carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions and cilantro.

Lamb and lentil soup. Sauté ground lamb with onions, garlic and spices. Add chopped carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Stir in lentils and vegetable broth. Simmer until lentils are tender, then add spinach and cook until wilted.

Lamb Kofta with tzatziki sauce. Mix ground lamb with garlic, onions, parsley, cumin, coriander, mint, salt and pepper. Form into small patties or meatballs and grill or bake until cooked through. Serve with homemade tzatziki sauce made from Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, lemon juice, dill, and olive oil.

What are the Best Ways to Cook Ground Lamb to Preserve Its Nutrients?

To preserve the nutrients in ground lamb, use cooking methods that maintain nutritional value without adding excessive fats or calories such as grilling, baking and sautéing.  

Grilling ground lamb

Grilling allows excess fat to drip away from the meat, reducing the overall fat content. It also imparts a delicious, smoky flavor. Similar to grilling, broiling cooks the meat quickly at high heat, allowing fats to drip away. This method retains the lamb’s natural flavors and nutrients.

Baking ground lamb

Baking ground lamb is a healthy cooking method that retains moisture and nutrients. It's ideal for dishes like meatloaf or stuffed vegetables. Use a moderate oven temperature and avoid overcooking to keep the meat tender and juicy.

Sautéing ground lamb

Sautéing in a small amount of healthy oil (such as olive oil) at medium heat preserves the lamb’s nutrients and flavors. This method is quick and ideal for mixing with vegetables and grains.

Comparing Ground Lamb with Other Meats

The following offers a health comparison between ground lamb and ground beef, chicken, turkey and pork. Ground lamb is not inherently healthier than the other meats, and the choice of which to eat can depend on your specific dietary needs and preferences. 

Ground Lamb vs Ground Beef: Is Ground Lamb Healthier Than Beef?

Both ground lamb and ground beef can be part of a healthy diet if chosen and prepared wisely. 

Ground lamb offers a rich source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed lamb provides the additional benefit of higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and CLA. Lamb has a higher fat content than beef, so choosing lean cuts and consuming in moderation is advisable. 

Ground beef is also a great source of protein and essential nutrients. Lean or extra-lean ground beef can be a lower-fat alternative. Grass-fed options are healthier, providing higher levels of omega-3 and CLA.

Ground Lamb vs Ground Chicken: Is Ground Lamb Healthier Than Chicken?

The choice between ground lamb and ground chicken depends on your specific health goals, dietary needs and taste preferences. Both can be part of a healthy, balanced diet when consumed in moderation and prepared using healthy cooking methods.

Choose ground lamb if you are looking for a rich source of iron, zinc and beneficial fats, and you enjoy its distinct flavor. Grass-fed lamb is particularly beneficial for these nutrients. Choose ground chicken if you prioritize lower fat and calorie content. Grass-fed ground chicken is especially low in fat and calories while still providing high-quality protein.

Ground Lamb vs Ground Turkey: Is Ground Lamb Healthier Than Turkey?

While ground lamb offers a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, it’s also higher in calories and saturated fat. Choosing lean cuts and consuming in moderation is advisable.

Ground turkey also is a great source of protein and generally lower in calories and fat, especially if using breast meat. Ground turkey is lower than lamb in iron and zinc but also has a lower saturated fat content.

Ground Lamb vs Ground Pork: Is Ground Lamb Healthier Than Pork?

Like ground lamb, ground pork is a good source of high-quality protein. Ground pork can be high in fat, including saturated fat. Pork is rich in thiamin (vitamin B1), selenium and zinc. It also provides significant amounts of vitamin B12, niacin and phosphorus. However, it is lower than ground lamb when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids and CLA. 

If you prioritize lower fat and calorie content, choose lean cuts of pork. Ground pork is versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes, but it's important to be mindful of the fat content. 

Where to Buy Ground Lamb Online

Acabonac Farms is the premier online source for grass-led ground lamb, pastured lamb loin chops, pastured lamb stew meat, and more pasture-raised lamb, beef, chicken and pork products. Our livestock lives on lush pastures near the Atlantic Ocean, where they graze freely and eat a diet of natural grasses and local vegetation. The result is delicious, healthier meat for nutrition-conscious consumers.

Purchasing pastured ground lamb from the Acabonac Farms online store is convenient and easy. We deliver your purchase directly to your door, wherever you live, nationwide. When you buy from us, you’re not only buying a healthier cut of meat, you’re also supporting a farm that practices regenerative farming and never feeds its livestock antibiotics, hormones or growth promotants.

Buy pasture-raised ground lamb from Acabonac Farms and you’ll join a growing number of people nationwide who want the health benefits of ethically raised food.

raw healthy pasture-raised ground lamb

Frequently Asked Questions about Ground Lamb

Is ground lamb a good option for weight loss diets?

Ground lamb can be part of a weight loss diet if consumed mindfully. It is a rich source of high-quality protein, which helps increase feelings of fullness. Additionally, ground lamb provides essential vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed options provide healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may support metabolic health.

However, ground lamb is higher in calories and saturated fats compared to some other protein sources, which can be a concern for those managing their calorie and fat intake. To incorporate ground lamb into a weight loss diet, it’s important to consume it in moderation and use healthy cooking methods such as grilling, baking or sautéing with minimal oil. Pairing ground lamb with plenty of vegetables, whole grains and legumes can create balanced, nutrient-dense meals that help control portion sizes and increase fiber intake, promoting satiety.

Is ground lamb healthy for weight loss?

Ground lamb can be healthy for weight loss if you control portions and eat only once or twice a week as part of a weight reduction diet. It should be balanced with lean protein sources and a variety of nutrient-rich foods to ensure overall dietary balance.

Is ground lamb inflammatory?

Ground lamb, particularly when sourced from grass-fed animals, is generally not considered highly inflammatory and can even have anti-inflammatory properties. However, conventionally raised lamb, which may have a higher saturated fat content, can contribute to inflammation if consumed in excess. Diets high in saturated fats are linked to increased inflammation and higher levels of LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to various health issues, including heart disease. 

Therefore, to minimize any potential inflammatory effects, it's advisable to choose lean cuts of ground lamb, prefer grass-fed sources and balance its consumption with a variety of anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats.

Is lamb a healthy meat to eat?

Lamb can be a healthy meat to include in your diet, primarily due to its rich nutrient profile. It's important to consume lamb in moderation and choose lean cuts to avoid excessive intake of saturated fats and calories, which can be higher in lamb compared to other lean meats. To maximize the health benefits of lamb while minimizing potential downsides, it’s advisable to prepare it using healthy cooking methods such as grilling, baking or broiling, and to pair it with a variety of vegetables, whole grains and other nutrient-dense foods.

Is ground lamb unhealthy?

Ground lamb is not inherently unhealthy, but its healthiness depends on factors such as portion size, preparation method and overall dietary balance. Ground lamb provides high-quality protein and essential nutrients, but it is best consumed in moderation.

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