Nutrition Advantages

Health & Nutrition Advantages of Grass-Fed Beef

Scientific evidence is accumulating that grass-fed beef is significantly healthier than grain-feed beef. Compared with feedlot meat, research shows that grass-fed beef has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. 

It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. Recent studies suggest that omega-3s and CLA can be important defenses against cancer.

Less Total Fat With More Good Fat

Grass-fed beef tends to be much lower in total fat than grain-feed beef. A sirloin steak from a grass-fed steer has about one-half to one-third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed steer. Although grass-fed beef is low in “bad” fat (including saturated fat), it contains from two to six times more of the “good” fat called “omega-3 fatty acids”. (Sixty percent of the fat content of grass is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (LNA)). People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat, and are 50 percent less likely to have a serious heart attack.1

Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for your brain. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to be afflicted with depression, schizophrenia, ADD or Alzheimer’s disease.2

Omega-3s may also reduce your risk of cancer. In animal studies these fatty acids have slowed the growth of a wide variety of cancers and kept them from spreading.3 Researchers have shown that omega-3s can slow or even reverse the extreme weight loss that accompanies advanced cancer in humans.4 They can also hasten recovery from cancer surgery.5

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  • Siscovick, D. S,. T. E. Raghunathan, et al. (1995) “Dietary Intake and Cell Membrane levels of Lon-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest,” JAMA 274(17): 1363-1367
  • Simopoulos and Robinson, The Omega Diet, published by HarperCollins, 1999.)
  • Rose, D. P., J. M.Connolly, et al (1995, “Influence of Diets Containing Eicosapentaenoic or Docasahexaenoic Acid on Growth and Metastasis of Breast Cancer Cells in Nude Mice.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87(8: 587-93.
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  • Tashiro, T., H. Yamamori, et al, (1998), “:n-3 vs. n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in critical illness.” Nutrition 1 4(6): 551-3
  • Duckett S. K, et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stock growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”
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  • Davidson, M. H.,Hunninghake, D., et al. (1999) “Comparison of the effects of lean red meat vs. lean white meaton serum lipid evels among free-living persons with hypercholesterolemia: a long-term randomized clinical trial”, Arch. Intern. Med, 159(12)
  • Z, Wu, L.D., Satter, and M.W. Pariza, “Paddocks containing red clover compared with all grass paddocks support high CLA levels in milk.” US Dairy Forage Research Center.
  • A. Aro et al,
  • Bougnoux, P, Lavillonniere F, Riboli E. “Inverse relation between CLA in adipose breast tissue and risk of breast cancer. A case-control study in France.” Inform 10;5:S43, 1999
  • Bougnoux, P., E. Germain et al (1999)” Cytotoxic drugs efficacy correlates with adipose tissue docosahexaenoic acid level in locally advanced breast carcinoma”, Br. J. Cancer, 79(11-12) 1765-9
  • Smith, G. C., “Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets”, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171

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