What is Corned Beef?

St. Patrick’s Day special is on the menu!

Okay, we’ve got an interesting fact. There is NO corn in corned beef. That’s weird, right? “Corn” simply refers to the grains of rock salt used to brine the brisket cut that is commonly used to make corned beef.

In summary, corned beef is produced by brining brisket in a salt and spice solution to tenderize the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.

What Is Corned Beef Made Of?

We’ve already mentioned that corned beef is made from brisket. Brisket is the meat gotten from the lower end of the cow breast. It is rich in fat and tough, hence the need to tenderize and simmer the meat cut.

Corned beef also contains sugar as well as spices such as coriander, peppercorn, mustard seeds, and even bay leaf. All these serve to add flavor to the corned beef.

Corned beef as a dish can be enjoyed as a breakfast, sandwich filling, and especially on St. Patrick’s Day.

As you can see, corned beef is a tasty addition to your platter and can be enjoyed in several ways but the major question is, “Is corned beef healthy?”  Having great taste is good but being tasty and nutritionally beneficial is a different ball game. Therefore, we’ll be looking at the nutritional facts as well as the health benefits of corned beef.

Nutritional Facts and Some Health Benefits of Corned Beef

Corned beef is made from cow brisket hence it is very rich in fat as well as protein. This beef serves as a good source of minerals and vitamins. It is also very rich in iron. These nutrients all have individual functions but they also combine to improve the production of red blood cells which prevents the risk of anemia.

The following is the nutritional information gotten from the USDA which highlights the contents of the corned beef as well as their exact proportion.

A 3-ounce serving of corned beef contains:

  • 213 calories
  • 15.5 grams of protein
  • 16.2 grams of fats
  • 827 milligrams of sodium
  • 0.4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 27.9mcg of selenium
  • 83 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 1.6mcg of vitamin B12
  • 1.86mg of iron

From the above information, it can be said that corned beef is low in carbohydrates, rich in calories and protein. It’s important to note that for an accurate estimation of just how much nutrients you’re getting, you should compare the composition of each nutrient to the daily value of nutrients needed.

For example, corned beef contains 34% of the daily value of sodium which is one-third of the required daily amount of sodium. The cholesterol level which looks low at first actually accounts for 28% of the required daily value so corned beef is a good source of cholesterol.

Also, the selenium content accounts for as high as 40% of the DV (Daily Value). While the vitamin B12 present is 27% of the daily value. Iron is present in trace amounts since only 10% of the DV is provided.

So with that, you can properly evaluate the nutritional contents of corned beef and note if the nutrients you need most are present and in the right amounts.

But that’s just the nutritional value expressed above. What exactly do you gain from eating corned beef? Is corned beef healthy or just another canned product that should be left on the grocery store shelf?

Here are some of the health benefits of corned beef:

  • It is an excellent source of protein that aids growth and development.
  • It is essential for boosting the health of the nervous system.
  • It is rich in fat which is a great energy store.
  • Rich in iron, it aids the production of healthy red blood cells and prevents the risk of anemia.
  • It is rich in selenium. Selenium is vital for building your thyroid hormones and DNA production. Selenium also serves as an antioxidant to protect from damage.


What would St. Patrick’s Day be without the tasty corned beef? Corned beef has become a staple in almost every home and can be served in more ways than one.

Though it provides some health benefits, it is important to note that corned beef, just like every other processed meat, is seen as a carcinogen. Carcinogens are substances that are likely to cause cancer in individuals.

As much as you would love to enjoy the flavored brisket, you might want to dial down on how much of these you consume.