Grass-fed beef is an excellent source of protein helpful for building muscle, burning fat, reducing cravings, and keeping you full long after you eat.
Grass-fed beef is also a good source of B12, zinc, selenium, iron, B vitamins, omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA boosts metabolism, increases fat loss, supports immunity, cools inflammation, and reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Some studies linked red meat consumption to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. But, these studies didn’t distinguish between the quality of meats, the type of meats, or how the meats were cooked. Most people agree that a grass-fed steak doesn’t belong in the same category as a processed hot dog.
Quality Is Crucial
Conventionally raised, feedlot animals are malnourished, fat, sick and inflamed, which is exactly what you become when you eat them. Due to their confined living and poor diets, they’re often given antibiotics and hormones that get passed on to us when we enjoy a glass of milk or a slice of steak.
- Raised without antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones
- Lower in total fat (as lean as a chicken breast)
- 60 percent higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s, which supports a healthier omega-3 to omega-6 ratio
- Up to 5 times higher in CLA, a potent cancer fighter
- 10 times higher in beta-carotene
- 4 times higher in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant
- Higher in B-vitamins, folic acid, calcium, magnesium & potassium
- Lower risk of E. Coli: 6.3 million (grass-fed) vs 20,000 (grain-fed)
- More environmentally friendly: 40% less greenhouse gases, 85% less energy use, and restores soil fertility
- Pastured a.k.a truly grass-fed (farmers market or meat shares)
- Supermarket, grass-fed, lean, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free
- Supermarket, grain-fed, lean, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free
Other good protein sources include bison, venison, and lamb.
The term “grass-fed” is great for selecting healthy animal products, however, some supermarket “grass-fed” options are misleading as they’re only fed grass for thirty to sixty days and then fattened up with grains. A better term to look for is “pastured,” meaning the cattle have been raised on grass on a pasture or farm.
“Organic” labels can also be misleading. “Organic,” doesn’t mean it’s grass-fed. It means the animal’s food (corn, soy, etc.) is organic. Pastured is more important than organic because pastured animals eat a more natural diet that already has a low pesticide content.
Just like humans, animals store toxins (antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and other chemicals) in fat tissue. Grass-fed animals are already leaner and contain less toxins, so you don’t have to worry about going lean with pastured products. But, you do want “lean” grain-fed animals to reduce toxins.
- US Wellness Meats – online shopping for high quality animal products.
- Butcher Box – high quality animal products delivered (use this link to get $10 off + free bacon!)
- Dr. Josh Axe: 6 Grass-Fed Beef Nutrition Benefits
- Chris Kresser: Why Grass-fed Trumps Grain-fed
- Dr. Mercola: How Grass-fed Cows Could Save the Planet
- The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
- Recipes: CNK, Balanced Bites, Dr. Axe, Mark’s Daily Apple, Nom Nom Paleo
Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner specializing in weight loss, digestive health and hormone balance. In-person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.