The Benefits of eating Grass-fed Meat

Grass-fed meat generally comes from cattle/animals that only eat grass and other wild, foraged foods throughout their lives. This means that all nutrients and minerals found in the soil and pastured land gets consumed by the cattle and end up in the meat that we eventually eat.

Often conventional beef cattle eat a diet that includes grains such as corn or soy. This kind of grain-fed diet of cattle changes the nutrients and fats that we consume. 

Studies have shown that there are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of grass-fed and grain-fed animals. Some results were that the meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep and bison was lower in total fat and could have one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal. Research has also shown that lean beef actually lowers your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels. 

Grass-fed meat is rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing and low in the fats that have been linked with disease. The meat is also richer in antioxidants including:

  • Vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C 

Furthermore, grass-fed meat does not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs. 

Veterinarian Dr Lowell Novy of Novy Ranches and Jordan Rubin from Beyond Organic are both experts in the field of raising premium, 100% grass-fed beef and they explain below why grass-fed is so valuable. 

Basically:  Because it’s better for the environment, it’s better for the body, and it’s better for your family and friends. 

You are what you Eat

What you put into your body becomes the building material for new cells and the energy to fuel this process. While there are many theories floating around about exactly which foods are best for optimal health, looking toward traditional food and traditional food preparation is a good place to start.

Traditional foods have nourished the human body for generations, long before the advent of modern food processing which has lead to modern diseases. 

  • Food additives
  • Preservatives
  • Flavourings
  • Colourings 

The above all add up in the body and many current, widespread degenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions and learning disorders can all be traced back to the food that we eat. 

Animals too, are what they eat. If cattle eat a diet that they are not meant to consume, then they become unhealthy. If you’re willing to buy beef from an animal that has been fed chemically treated corn because you think that it’s the same stuff that comes from 100% pasture-raised cattle, think again. These two products are drastically different and people have mentioned how you can literally feel the difference in your body after eating grass-fed beef.

One of the most remarkable benefits of grass-fed beef is its high omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid profile. And while many of us have heard that cold water fish are an especially good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, few of us know that when raised naturally and on pastured land, beef has its own healthy fats to boast about. These are:

  • A healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids
  • A special fat called conjugated linoleum acid (CLA) 

Almost everyone needs that extra omega-3 boost because too many of us consume hidden omega-6 fats which, in excess, are pro-inflammatory. And since inflammation plays a significant role in many degenerative diseases, this is certainly something that needs to be avoided. 

Excessive dietary omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to:

  • Contribute to inflammation
  • Contribute to type II Diabetes
  • Lead to insulin resistance
  • Interfere with Thyroid function
  • Program ‘obese genes’ that persist over four generations

Contrary to what we know about omega-6 fatty acids, most food sold in markets, even organic food, contains vegetable and seed oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Grain-fed beef has a high pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid profile. 

What about 100% grass-fed beef?

It’s healthy omega-3 fatty acid profile rivals that of some fish, but in order to access these fats you need cuts of meat that have an exterior layer of fat. You can also find omega-3 fats in other nutrient-dense parts of the animal, such as the liver and bone marrow.

The other important fatty acid found abundantly in grass-fed beef called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is unique and sought after because it is a nutrient that can tone up and slim down the waistline.

Grass-fed beef also has other nutrients like the amino acids, L-carnitine and carnosine. These are important as they are known for their ability to protect the body against free radical damage, or what is otherwise known as oxidative stress. 

Oxidative stress leads to the degeneration of tissue, aging and the inflammatory response. Though a little bit of it is normal, a lot of oxidative stress can become a burden and wear the body down. 

Carnosine is handy in that it inhibits proteins from cross-linking up to sugars. This cross-linking action can actually accelerate the aging process, both within and without our bodies. For example this can show up in the skin as wrinkles or in the veins as brittle vasculature causing carnosine to be popular among those interested in anti-aging therapies. Because carnosine is concentrated in brain and muscle tissue, the best place to find it is in meat. 

L-carnitine is another amino acid that is popular for its ability to keep the body youthful. It encourages the body to break down fat as an energy source. This means that L-carnitine can have a slimming effect if used correctly in whole food form. Like carnisine, L-carnitine has a significant antioxidant effect in the body. Rather than protecting proteins like carnisine does, L-carnitine protects fats from oxidisation. 

Consumers have been led to believe that meat is meat is meat. In other words no matter what an animal is fed, the nutritional value of its products remains the same. Research has shown that this is not true and that an animal’s diet can have a profound influence on the nutrient content of its products.

There is a lot of information available for anyone interested. As a consumer be aware of the potential harm of certain products and the benefits of others. 

Happy eating!