You are what you eat! What’s interesting is that this applies to cows as well. Most of us have been forced into believing that meat is meat, regardless of the quality. However, recent research shows that grass fed beef is far superior to grain fed beef in terms of its nutrient content. The difference comes in how they are raised. Grain fed cows are force-fed grains and are kept in closely packed environments with other cows. Grass fed cows are allowed to consume grass freely on large areas – they’re much happier cows and their meat is incredibly nutritious. Recent research also indicates that red meat, whether grass-fed or grain-fed is not a source of heart disease. Phew. Keep reading to find out how grass fed meat trumps the conventional grain-fed variety:
1. Higher in good fats
Grass fed beef have 2 to 4 times the omega 3 fatty acids of regular grain fed beef. Additionally, the saturated fatty acid composition varies between both meats too. Red meat is composed of three different saturated fatty acids: stearic acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid. Research shows that stearic acid does not raise blood cholesterol levels and the good news is, grass-fed has higher levels of it. This also means that the potentially cholesterol-inducing palmitic and myristic acid proportions are lower in grass fed meat.
2. Higher in Vitamins and Minerals
Grass fed meat has a higher composition of the following minerals, vitamins and antioxidants:
Carotenoids give fat its yellowish hue. You’ll notice this while cooking grass-fed meat. Carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A found in green plants and orange and yellow vegetables.
b. B Vitamins
B vitamins are required for almost every function in the human body, including cognitive function, heart health, muscle health and fertility.
c. Vitamin D
Red meat is rich in bioavailable vitamin D which has a greater impact on our blood levels compared to vitamin D in dairy and synthetic varieties.
We aren’t strangers to the fact that red meat is among the highest sources of iron. Iron is especially important for pregnant women and people with iron-deficiency anemia.
4. Omega 3 and Omega 6 Balance
Most of us have become buddies with these, often labeled as good fats and better known as polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, it’s important that your diet has a balance between the two as greater levels of omega 6 fatty acids, which is a common problem among Americans, can increase your risk of chronic illnesses. The reason is that omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory so the goal is to consume more of the latter. The good news for those who can’t afford grain-fed beef is that any type of red meat will have consistent omega-6 fatty acid levels. However, as mentioned earlier, grass fed has a league of its own because it is much higher in omega 3 fatty acids.
5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated linoleic acid is another type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is found naturally in meat and milk products. Conjugated linoleic acid has powerful antioxidant properties, which makes it highly protective against chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Grass-fed beef, on average, possesses 2 to 3 times more conjugated linoleic acid than its grain-fed counterpart.