Why Lamb is a smart choice…

Did you know that Americans consume only around 0.7 pounds of lamb meat each year? In other countries around the world, such as Greece, lamb is eaten much more regularly than in the United Sates.

Maybe you have never given lamb a try or maybe you already love it, but either way, you may be wondering if lamb is a healthy meat choice.

So is lamb healthy? In moderation, lamb is an excellent source of protein and contains vital nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12. Is lamb red meat? Yes, lamb is a type of red meat and you probably know that red meat often gets a bad reputation, but high-quality red meats like grass-fed beef and grass-fed lamb are excellent and truly healthy protein sources in moderation.

I’m about to answer a lot of common questions about lamb, including what is a lamb, the difference between lamb and sheep, how lamb can boost your health, and also one of the tastiest and healthiest lamb recipes around. So let’s find out just what lamb meat is all about.

As I already mentioned Lamb does fall into the red meat category. What makes a meat a “red meat”? The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of the animal’s meat. Red meats have a high myoglobin content, which is a protein found in muscle that changes to red when it’s mixed with oxygen. As a red meat, lamb inherently contains more zinc and iron than non-red meats.

One ounce of lamb, grass-fed, has the same number of calories as grass-fed beef but actually has more health-promoting omega 3 fatty acids. People also get worried about lamb’s fat content, but lamb actually has less marbling of fat within the meat compared to beef. Most of lamb meat’s fat is around the outside and can easily be trimmed.

What is lamb? Lamb, yearling mutton (or hogget) and mutton, come all from the same animal, which is the domestic sheep. What sets these names or classifications apart is the sheep’s age. A lamb is a sheep that’s under one year old, and the meat that comes from a sheep at this young age is called lamb. So if someone asks, “Lamb vs. sheep, what’s the difference?” — lamb is a young version of a sheep.

Lamb typically has a milder flavor compared to mutton. So what is mutton then? The common mutton definition is meat of a mature sheep at least one year old. There’s also yearling mutton or hogget, which are usually between one and two years of age.

Most important Health Benefits of Lamb Meat

1. Lamb Meat – A Fantastic Source of Iron

As a red meat, lamb inherently has a lot more iron than other protein sources like chicken or fish. In addition, since lamb is an animal source of iron, it contains heme iron rather than the non-heme iron found in plants. Heme iron is the more absorbable form of iron so consuming red meat like lamb can help to improve and prevent iron deficiency and anemia symptoms.

2. A Vitamin B Powerhouse

The National Institute of Health’s Dietary Office estimates that somewhere between 1.5% to 15 % of people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin B12. Other studies, like one published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, indicate that this number might be even higher, with up to 39% of the population possibly suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Lamb is an awesome source of B12, just 3 ounces of lamb meat will provide half of most people’s daily B12 requirements.

But that’s not all — lamb is also loaded with other essential B vitamins, including vitamin B6, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Vitamin B12 as well as these other B vitamins help our nervous systems function as they should, and ensure that the actual nerve cells are in a healthy state.

3. A Way to Boost Your Immune System

Lamb is loaded with immune-boosting zinc, just 3 ounces of lamb contains 4.4 mg zinc which is 30% of our daily value. Zinc is absolutely essential to optimal immune health, along with wound healing, DNA and protein synthesis, as well as growth and development in children.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Assets

Lamb does contain fat, but a significant portion of that fat is anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed lamb meat provides its consumers with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has been shown to help aid fat loss and improve lean muscle mass.

5. A Healthy Source of Protein

Lamb is loaded with vital proteins, just one 3 ounce serving of lamb meat contains over 23 grams of protein. Protein does so much for the body, including providing it with slow-burning, sustainable fuel. It also helps your body build, repair and maintain muscle mass.

There are a lot of ways to use and cook lamb meat. Many fans of lamb really love lamb loin chops, which are said to be one of the most tender cuts of lamb meat. In the culinary world, lamb loin chops are sometimes referred to as “the porterhouse steak of the lamb” to give you a beef comparison.

Here is my favorite recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops:


  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick


In a food processor add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes. Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

So are you thinking about having some lamb chops for dinner tonight? In moderation, high-quality, grass-fed lamb meat is an awesome, healthy protein source that offers a wide range of concentrated and health-boosting nutrients.

Lamb is often forgotten about or overlooked on restaurant menus and grocery lists, but after reading my blog and trying out my lamb recipe, I think you just may want to add lamb to your rotation of healthy meat options.

But if you want to save time and effort or don’t like to cook in the spure of the moment, try one of our favorites burgers, our lamb burger…free ranged ground lamb, spiced with herbs and fresh garlic, and always worth a try. Yum!