Why Grassfed Beef?
Key health benefits you need to know
Why Grassfed Beef? “You are what you eat” doesn’t just apply to humans… The way cows are fed is known to have a major effect on their nutritional composition. Many studies have shown that the nutrients in beef can vary depending on what the cows consume.
But wait, don’t all cows eat grass?
Most calves in the U.S. are born in the spring, drink milk from their mothers and are then allowed to roam free and eat grass, shrubs or whatever edible plants they find in their environment. This continues for 6-12 months until the “conventionally” raised cows are moved to feedlots. Large feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Here, the cows are rapidly fattened with grain-based feeds, usually made with a base of soy or corn or even in some cases, candy and trash.
The conventionally raised cows are also commonly given drugs and hormones to grow faster, as well as antibiotics to survive the unsanitary living conditions. The cows live there for a few months and are then moved into the factory for slaughtering.
Does this sound healthy to you? It doesn’t to us, either.
What’s our beef with grain-fed?
If the beef you eat isn’t fed a nutritious diet, it won’t become nutritious food. There is no magical transformation from stale gummy bears into vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Feeding cattle junk food turns them into junk food.
A 6-ounce steak from a grass-fed steer contains nearly 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer.
“If you eat a typical amount of beef per year, which in the United States is about 67 pounds, switching to grass-fed beef will save you 16,642 calories a year.” (1)
– Jo Robinson, author of “Pasture Perfect”
Grass-fed beef’s nutritional benefits
All beef is nutritious, but grass-fed beef is known to be significantly more nutritious than grain-fed beef. Here’s why:
- More CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than any other beef: A 4-ounce serving of grass-fed beef provides 500-800 mg, or two-to-three times more CLA than grain-fed beef. CLA, a fatty acid made from linoleic acid, is associated with an increasing list of health benefits including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass and blood sugar regulation, and reduced body fat and heart-attack risk. In addition, CLA sources have proven their ability as cancer-fighting foods in multiple animal studies. One, published in the journal Cancer, singled out CLA’s uniqueness as an animal-based anticancer agent, adding that its “anticancer efficacy is expressed at concentrations close to human consumption levels.” ” (2) In 2000, a Finnish study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found a lower risk of breast cancer in women with the highest levels of CLA in their diets. (3)
- More vaccennic acid: Various bacteria in our digestive tract are able to convert vaccenic acid into CLA once we’ve consumed grass-fed beef, a process that further increases the practical amount of CLA that we receive from grass-fed animals.
- Better fat quality: Grass-fed beef has significantly more omega-3 fats — the anti-inflammatory kind (click here for complete health benefits) — and fewer omega-6s, which can be inflammatory.
- More vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 is vital for heart and bone health. K2 helps get calcium into your bones (where it belongs) rather than into your arteries (where it causes plaque).
- More antioxidants: Especially vitamin E (good for your skin, hair and nails).
- Micronutrients: Grassfed beef also contains more potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and sodium.
- More than double the amount of beta-carotene and lutein: Beta-carotene is often thought of as a form of vitamin A itself. Having normal levels of vitamin A is key for good vision, strong immunity and general health.
- Cholesterol-lowering effects: The decrease in cholesterol you are most likely to achieve when switching from conventionally fed to grass-fed beef is approximately 22–39% (4). Since a single 4-ounce serving of conventionally fed beef will typically provide 90 mg of cholesterol or more, and since the recommended limit from the American Heart Association is 300 mg per day — and only 200 mg if you are someone with either heart disease or LDL cholesterol of 100 mg/dL or more — this 22-39% cholesterol dip from grass-fed beef can lead to more beneficial health outcomes.
- Higher omega-3 fat content: Recent studies show up to 3.5 grams of total omega-3 fats, the good kind of fat usually found in fish, in 4 ounces of grass-fed beef. That level would provide you with 100% of the daily requirement.
In conclusion, our ancestors ate real meat. We think you should too.