Grass fed beef is meat from a whole different animal compared to most meats available at the supermarket. It is harder to find and it is far superior to other beef for many reasons. This article will focus on the health benefits, and leave out the environmental benefits.
Man’s body has evolved through the years (thousands of years) living on among other things animals who ate grass. The same goes for the cattle, they have existed forever eating grass, not grain. As you will see, the benefits of eating beef raised from the pasture as opposed to the feedlot are significant and beneficial.
Our bodies need Omega 3 fats. These essential fatty acids are vital to a optimal and healthy body for brain function and an overall healthy body. Grass fed beef has the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats which is 3:1. Grass fed beef leaner than grain fed beef, and the meat has 7 times as much Omega 3s comparatively.
Another beneficial element contained in high amounts within grass fed beef is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). This fat cuts your risk to cancer down. CLA reduces risk of obesity and diabetes as well. It also improves the immune system.
In addition to having more good fats, grass fed beef has a higher mineral and vitamin content. An essential vitamin that grass fed beef is abundant in is Vitamin E. Most grass fed beef will contain up to 7-8 mcg/gram of Vitamin E compared to 1-2 mcg/gram for grain fed.
Grass Fed vs Organic
Everyone who is health conscious knows that meat needs to be void of steroids and growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic additives and GMO feed. Organic cattle are indeed fed with organic food. They are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. This is good and your family will thank you for the tasty healthy steak dinner. But, the majority of beef that is organic is fed or finished on grains like corn feed. Corn helps put weight on cattle and make them ready for market faster.
The important thing to know is that cattle evolved eating grass, not corn. Even if cattle are eating organic corn, they are still not eating the nutritional grasses that their bodies were made to process. This means that the cattle are not living up to their complete nutritional possibility.
The trick is to find a reliable and honest ranch that raises premium grass fed beef without the use of antibiotics and hormones. A good example of this is Teton Waters Ranch, who has a commitment to sustainability and to quality beef. For example, their beef is not organic, but the cattle are raised in Idaho, in a natural setting grazing assorted native grasses and are never put into a feedlot and never dosed up with synthetics or antibiotics. In this case one would have the best of both worlds. Premium grass fed beef that is both healthy and nutritious.
Remember that what organic defines is what isn’t in the product (drugs, GMOs etc) not what is in the product (vitamin and mineral levels). For example, organic grain fed beef is still deficient in beta carotene, approximately 1/8th as much as grass fed beef.
In addition to grass fed beef being a more complete nutritional product, someone is less likely to get a sick from E Coli. This is because the grains in the cattle’s G.I. tract is much more acidic than grass fed cattle. This higher acidic environment breeds acid resistant bacteria. When passed into your G.I. tract, this bacteria provides a higher risk of infection.
The Best of Both Worlds
To walk in the best of both worlds would be to buy organic grass fed beef. This beef is the most expensive because the price of maintaining organic certification is pricey and is passed onto the consumer. To avoid the high prices, one should seek out a ranch that has committed itself to a natural pastoral setting where synthetic fertilizers are not used, and where growth hormones, and antibiotics are not used. In this case the savings of non organic certification can be passed onto the consumer while still getting both the health and nutritional benefits of grass fed beef.