Grass-fed meat has many health benefits that you may have overlooked. However, it is important to be aware of these benefits so you can be an informed consumer when shopping for meat. According to studies, grass-fed beef has significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and healthy conjugated linoleic acid (otherwise known as CLA) than traditional grain-fed beef. In fact, grass-fed beef is one of the best protein foods available and is higher in vitamins A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants, than grain-fed beef.
CLA is a strong polyunsaturated fatty acid that humans can only get from consumption that has been shown to help fight cancer, build muscle, and reduce weight gain. Two of the best sources of this fatty acid are grass-fed meats and butter. It is possible that you do not put much consideration into what the animals you eat were fed throughout their lives. You have likely heard the term “grass-fed” but are not aware of the real difference that this criterion makes to your food. Once you learn the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, you’ll likely look at your meat a bit differently.
Most of the meat on store shelves today have been fed a grain diet, including corn and soy. However, it is less known that some grain-fed cows are also fed many foods in addition to grains to keep costs down and promote weight gain. From stale candy to chocolate bars, these cattle are often fed a cheap and unhealthy diet that will put the most fat on their bodies. However, grass-fed animals have continuous access to pasture and are not fed grain or grain-based products.
CLA in the Fight Against Cancer
The 16 different types of CLA provide a unique health benefit. Studies have shown that CLA promotes health and helps fight diseases. From fighting cancer to helping people lose weight, CLA is a critical part of a diet that will give you optimal health.
CLA has been used in animal studies to show proof of its ability to fight cancer. CLA is unique because it comes from an animal source, while the majority of natural substances known to fight cancer come from plants. Studies have shown that CLA lowers the risk of breast cancer in women.
CLA has also shown to reduce one's risk for heart disease. The reasons why grass-fed beef can benefit heart health are because it has less fat than grain-fed beef, it is lower in dietary cholesterol, it has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and it has more antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E.
Grass-fed beef can also help improve blood sugar. Consuming enough healthy fats is very helpful in keeping your blood sugar healthy. Research has shown the effects of CLA on insulin sensitivity in obese children. Researchers found that 37% of the children who were treated with CLA showed improvements in their insulin sensitivity. Additionally, muscle biopsies of the children treated with CLA showed an increase of the protein molecule IRS2, which lessens the effects of insulin on one's body.
The benefits of grass-fed meat are clearly not only for adults. The results that children exhibit are also significant for adults who want to keep their blood sugar managed to help fight diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Free From Hormones
About 80% of antibiotics that are sold in our country go to livestock such as cows. Cows that are grain-fed are typically given hormones to help increase their weight and therefore yield more meat. However, grass-fed cows do not gain as much weight because they eat a healthy diet that is low in calories.
Farmers use antibiotics for their animals because as the demand for meat increases, animals are confined to increasingly smaller spaces, which increases the spread of disease. The use of antibiotics in animals that are consumed by humans contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans. Because of this, it is very important that you are aware of what is given to the animals that you eat. Antibiotic and hormone use is significantly less likely in grass-fed animals.
When you eat grass-fed beef, you are doing something good for yourself and advocating for the proper treatment of cows. You may feel conflicted if you have been eating grain-fed beef throughout your life, but as our population becomes more aware of how our food gets to our plates, the demand for grass-fed, free-range beef is increasing, meaning it is more available to you.