Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed beef is one of the newest trends in the world of healthy eating, and you have probably at least heard the term. The basic premise is that cows are supposed to eat grass (as nature intended) and that grass-fed beef is therefore healthier and more nutritious. Although this might sound like marketing hype, there is actually some science to confirm the health benefits of grass-fed beef.

We looked over some of the evidence so that we could give you a complete explanation. When choosing whether to eat grain-fed beef (i.e., most of it) or grass-fed beef, you need to make an informed decision. According to gtameats.ca these are the five proven benefits that come from eating grass-fed beef.

1. Grass-Fed Beef Is Leaner

Although this is not an absolute rule, grass-fed beef does tend to be less fatty than the standard options. To understand why, you have to understand the process by which meat animals are slaughtered. For most of its life, a cow lives in a pasture eating grass and wild plants. In this regard, nearly all beef is "grass-fed" to one extent or another.

However, several months before slaughter, the animals are moved to a feedlot. As the name implies, this is a place where they are deliberately fattened. This allows the producers to get more meat per cow. This fattening is achieved through a food mix that mostly consists of grains. Corn is, by far, the most abundant ingredient in these feeding mixes. Cows that are not subjected to this last-minute stuffing are going to produce slightly less meat, but it will be leaner and higher in quality. This study confirms that grass-fed cattle are less fatty and that their fat is more nutritious due to beta carotene content.

2. Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acid Content

Contrary to popular belief, some types of fat are actually good for you. Chief among these "good fats" are the omega fatty acids. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the two most common forms, and both are associated with a huge variety of health benefits including:
  • Eye health
  • Brain function
  • Heart health
  • Mental benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory

When it comes to Omega-6 content, grass-fed beef doesn't have any particular benefits. It has about the same amount of Omega-6 that you would find in grain-fed beef. However, there is a pretty significant difference when it comes to the Omega-3 fatty acids. According to this study, grass-fed beef contains up to five times the Omega-3 fatty acids found in standard grain-fed cattle.

3. Higher Nutritional Content

The study that we examined in section one brings up another interesting benefit. Grass-fed beef will generally be more nutritious than that which has been raised on grain. As that study confirmed, the fat from these animals has a yellowish color due to the beta carotene found in most grasses. Beta carotene, by the way, is the substance that gives carrots their distinctive color and flavor. More importantly, beta carotene is an important precursor that your body uses to make vitamin A. Thus, you will definitely get more vitamin A from this type of beef.

Want to know what omega fatty acids, beta carotene, and vitamin A all have in common? They are all antioxidants. These substances are known to have anti-aging properties and many health benefits in general. In fact, we don't even have the space here to cover that subject...that's how many benefits there are! So, instead, let's see if we can get a general picture.

We found this study to be the perfect fit for our needs. It is a comparison of the antioxidant effects from both grain-fed and grass-fed cattle. Instead of measuring the levels of the various antioxidants (which would take forever), they measured the antioxidant effects that resulted from eating said meat. As you can see, they found the grass-fed cattle to be significantly higher in antioxidants.

4. Less Contaminated With Medical Products

Unfortunately, the government allows people to pump their cattle full of antibiotics and growth hormones, and this practice has come under fire for good reason. Thankfully, some laws in recent years have limited these practices, but they remain pretty common throughout the nation. Those laws didn't really do much except restrict the use of certain specific antibiotics that were also important for human use. The people who made these laws were more concerned about preventing "superbugs" than they are about providing you with quality meat.

Grass-fed beef might be a little more expensive, but these kinds of farmers are a lot less likely to use extensive antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. In order to be certified as "organic," their meat likely has to be tested periodically. As such, grass-fed beef is a lot closer to what nature intended. The animal might have some limited medical care on an as-needed basis, but they probably haven't been pumped full of them like those poor animals in the factory farms.

5. Higher Protein Content

One of the best things about beef is its high protein content. That's why people sometimes look at a well-muscled man and say that he has "eaten a lot of beef." Anyway, all beef is high in protein, but it seems that grass-fed protein is a little higher. This is because of its lower fat content. You see, both fat and protein are sources of energy. The cow's body only has so much energy to put into the building of muscles (meat). Thus, a low-fat side of beef will also tend to be higher in protein. According to this source, grass-fed beef contains up to 76.5% protein!

Conclusion

Although beef is a healthy food, it always pays to try and increase those healthy benefits a little bit more. Grass-fed cattle is definitely more like that which was eaten by our ancestors, who found it much easier to simply turn those cows loose in the pasture. Only modern man seems intent on stuffing cows with as much corn as they will hold, and we advise you to avoid such artificially bulked animals.