No one loves a good steak more than I do. Love eating it, grilling it, stewing it, braising it. Over the past few years, I have switched to grass finished beef. It tastes a bit different, is juicier, and you don’t cook it as long. I actually love the taste of it better. The other reason I like it is because it’s a lot healthier for you.
Some studies have been released that prove the health point.
The first comes from The British Journal of Nutrition, published by The University of Cambridge, UK. It is the “missing link” which connects higher levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids in grass-fed beef with increased levels of Omega-3 in those people who eat it.
Grass-fed meats improve fat levels. Eating moderate amounts of grass-fed meat for only 4 weeks will give you healthier levels of essential fats, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The British research showed that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their level of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These changes are linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease.
Here is another.
Grass-fed beef is better for human health than grain-fed beef in ten different ways, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. The 2009 study was a joint effort between the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina. Compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef was:
- Lower in total fat
- Higher in beta-carotene
- Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
- Higher in B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
- Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Higher in total omega-3s
- A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
- Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-II), a potential cancer fighter
- Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
- Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”
One way grocers and butchers try to fool you is by telling you their beef is grass fed. All beef is grass fed. It’s the finishing process that makes a difference. Most beef in the US is finished in feed lots on corn. That’s where the bad stuff happens. Antibiotics are given to them because cattle have a hard time processing corn. They are also crowded into a feedlot, and the cramped conditions are easy to get a disease to spread if one were to infect some animals. So, if you see a sign saying grass fed, ask if it’s grass finished too.
Grass fed/finished beef is also slightly lower in calories than regular beef! A belly benefit.
Grilling season is near. If you aren’t eating grass fed beef, give it a try.