All too often the general consumer is led to believe that “meat is meat.” However, this is simply not the case. Recent studies have shown that animals left to enjoy healthy, grazing lives on grass pastures produce meat that is more nutrient-dense in healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins. To further dispel the false belief that “all meat is created equally,” we have gathered together a few of the reasons why grass-fed beef is far superior to purely grain-fed beef.
Benefit 1: Healthier Animals – Pasture-fed animals are given a diet that is closer to their natural diets. This improved diet helps to keep the animals healthier by exposing them to vitamin-rich grasses, plants, and other forms of forage. The animals also avoid digesting harmful growth hormones.
Benefit 2: Grass-Fed Beef Health
Grass-fed beef is far healthier than grain-fed alternatives. Did you know that grass-fed meat has about the same amount of fat as skinless chicken or wild deer or elk? When meat is lean enough it has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Below are a few of the additional health benefits of grass-fed beef, that through consumption, are passed on to humans.
Grass-fed beef tends to be:
- Higher in beta-carotene.
- Higher in vitamin E levels. Grass-fed beef has four times the vitamin E levels than conventionally raised cattle. Vitamin E has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Higher in total omega 3. Omega-3 fats help to improve heart health. They can also aid in the prevention of autoimmune disorders and cancer.
- Higher in B vitamins thiamin (B1) and riboflavin (B2). These important vitamins help to support the human body’s nerves, muscles, energy, and heart functions.
- Increased amounts of minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Magnesium, minerals, and calcium are important factor in maintaining strong bones, improving muscles and nerves, and supporting blood circulation. Potassium has been known to lower the risk for high blood pressure.
- Higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid, which has been shown to reduce cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and insulin resistance.
- Increased levels of vaccenic acid. This natural trans fat has been shown by the Journal of Nutrition to protect against atherosclerosis.
- Fewer calories due to the lean quality of the meat. A 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer.
Benefit 3: Small Farms and the Environment can Benefit from Grass-Fed Beef
A small farm is often called the perfect ecosystem. It has a finely tuned balance of using cow manure to fertilize crops and vegetables grown on the farm. Grass-fed cows produce manure that replenishes the soil, thus rebalancing the ecosystem. By improving our environment, grass-fed beef is helping to contribute to the sustainable farming movement. When it is time to choose what beef to purchase, consider purchasing the environmentally and healthier grass-fed beef option.