Grass-Fed Beef

The grass is a great addition to our environment, but it also has many therapeutic benefits. For example, it can reduce stress levels and increase feelings of well-being.


Perhaps you haven’t given much consideration to what the animals you consume today were fed the day before. For the most part, this is true, but there is a distinction between grass-fed beef and the rest.

You may have heard the words “grass-fed,” “open range,” and “grain-fed,” but have no idea what they mean.

You’ll have a better idea of why grass-fed beef is so essential after you learn the key distinctions between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle.

Today, most beef on supermarket shelves has been given a grain diet. In general, these cows are fed maize and soy, although they also eat various other foods.

Cattle, in actuality, are given whatever energy source is the cheapest and would fatten them up the most.

Let’s take a closer look at how grass-fed beef nutrition may improve your health and why it’s a better decision for you, your family, and the environment.

Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef is a kind of red meat that is often regarded as one of the greatest protein sources. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a standard definition for the “grass-fed” claim in October 2007, requiring continuous access to pasture and prohibiting the feeding of grain or grain-based products to animals.

Cows are supposed to spend their lives quietly grazing on grass in wide-open pastures, but most cows are currently reared in a confined animal feeding facility, often known as a CAFO.

The cows are not only confined and crammed in these vast facilities, but they also do not consume what is healthiest for them. Rather, they consume what causes them to gain the greatest weight and hence the most money.

When these cows get ill (which is often due to their poor living circumstances), they are usually given hormones and antibiotics.

According to some estimates, a grain-fed, feed-lot cow may grow to be large enough for slaughter up to a year quicker than a cow that is only fed grass, foraged foods, and hay. However, it’s not simply a matter of time for grass-fed beef farmers. They also deal with greater operational expenses, processor scarcity, and customer apprehension over flavor and texture variations.

The advantages of grass-fed beef, on the other hand, are well worth the additional effort, particularly when you consider its nutritional content. Grass-fed beef has considerably higher omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef burgers and steaks.

When compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef has more precursors for vitamin A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.

If you’re unfamiliar with CLA, it’s a powerful polyunsaturated fatty acid that we must obtain from our diets (such as a Paleo or ketogenic diet) and has been shown to help fight cancer and discourage weight gain and build muscle. The best sources of CLA are high-quality grass-fed beef and butter from healthy, grass-fed cows or other animals.

Health Advantages

1. Cancer-fighting potential

There are 16 different forms of CLA, each of which has a distinct and vital health advantage. Since 1994, CLA has been demonstrated to boost health and combat illness in various animal experiments.

CLA is recommended as a “must-have” in your diet for optimum health now and future, from cancer prevention to weight reduction. Conjugated linoleic acids have been shown in studies to be effective in preventing and treating cancer and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Multiple animal studies have shown the efficacy of CLA sources to combat cancer. CLA is unusual in that it originates from animal sources, while most natural anticancer chemicals come from plants, according to a research published in the journal Cancer. Furthermore, the “anticancer effectiveness of animal-derived CLA is manifested at concentrations near to human intake levels.”

CLA may have anticarcinogenic benefits in humans, according to a Finnish research published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 2000. According to this research, women with the greatest amounts of CLA in their diets had a decreased risk of breast cancer than women with the lowest levels of CLA in their diets.

CLA and human anticancer research will hopefully continue since it seems to be quite promising so far.

2. Assists in the reduction of the risk of heart disease

According to research, an herbivore diet for cattle is connected to human health. It may protect meat against protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation, both of which are associated with inflammation and heart disease. This is due in major part to the phytochemicals included in a grass-fed diet.

The following are some of the primary reasons why grass-fed beef is good for your heart:

  • First, there will be less total fat and harmful fat.
  • Lower dietary cholesterol levels
  • Omega-3 fatty acid levels that are good for your heart
  • More CLA
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E, help prevent heart disease.

When you consider the amazing nutritional content of grass-fed beef burgers and sirloins against conventional choices, it’s easy to see how they may help minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease.

3. Has the Potential to Lower Blood Sugar

Including adequate healthy fats in your diet will help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. The benefits of the healthy fat CLA on insulin sensitivity in obese children were studied in a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2016.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial discovered that 37% of individuals treated with CLA improved their insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, muscle biopsies from CLA-treated patients revealed an increase in the protein molecule IRS2, which mediates the effects of insulin on the body.

The advantages of grass-fed beef nutrition are evidently not limited to adults. These findings in children have implications for adults who want to maintain blood sugar management to avoid diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.

4. Likely to Be Hormone- and Antibiotic-Free

According to reports, around 80% of antibiotics marketed in the United States are given to animals, such as cows; thus, being concerned about antibiotics in beef is reasonable. In addition, cows who aren’t grass-fed consume grain and are often given hormones to artificially boost their weight and, as a result, generate more meat.

Weight growth is lower in grass-fed cows because they consume a healthier, lower-calorie diet.

Farmers are using more antibiotics because as the demand for meat grows, animals are confined to fewer and smaller places, which dramatically increases disease transmission. Unfortunately, antibiotic usage in meat, especially factory-farmed meats, leads to antibiotic resistance in humans, which is why it’s critical to investigate not just what goes into your body but also what goes into the bodies of the animals you consume.

Cattle-fed grain has considerably more acidic digestive tracts, which encourages the development of germs like E. coli, which may kill someone who consumes undercooked meat like a rare hamburger. We can blame the commercial meat business for this terrifying beef, which is the result of feeding cows grain and cramming them into overcrowded, disease-ridden feedlots.

Grass-fed cattle are substantially less likely than grain-fed meat to utilize antibiotics and hormones. Because organic cattle are fed organic feed and are not administered antibiotics or hormones, the animal was not given antibiotics or hormones if the meat is organic and grass-fed.

Antibiotics are seldom administered to grass-fed cattle, in contrast to the routine and widespread use of antibiotics in feedlots and grain-fed cows.

5. Beef That Isn’t As Dangerous

Consumer Reports performed the largest research to date in 2015, proving that eating grass-fed beef instead of conventional meat lowers your risk of food poisoning and results in fewer antibiotic-resistant germs. The researchers examined 300 samples of ground beef from 103 supermarkets, big-box, and natural food shops in 26 locations throughout the US for the presence and diversity of bacteria.

According to Consumer Reports:

One of the most important results of our study was that meat from conventionally produced cows was more likely to include bacteria in general and bacteria that were antibiotic-resistant than beef from sustainably maintained cows. For example, on three standard samples, we discovered MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant S. aureus bacterium that kills over 11,000 people in the United States every year (and none on sustainable samples). Furthermore, superbugs were found in 18% of conventional beef samples, compared to just 9% of beef from sustainably produced samples. Superbugs are harmful bacteria that are resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics. Sustainable practices are known to be better for the environment and more animal-friendly. However, our research shows that these approaches may create ground beef with fewer health hazards.

6. Environmentally friendly

There are several health advantages to eating grass-fed beef, but there’s more. Grass-fed beef is not only healthier for your health, but it is also better for the environment.

Because of environmental concerns, many individuals shun beef and meat completely.

There is some really positive news when it comes to grass-fed beef. According to new research, traditional grass-fed beef production and finishing now prove to help the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, boosting pasture ecosystem biodiversity, and enhancing the quality of run-off water from well-managed pastures.

Overall, grass-fed beef has been found to cut carbon emissions and aid rather than harm the environment.

Nutritional Information

Are you curious about what cows eat? If left to its own devices, a cow will consume and flourish on a grass-based diet with a few foraged plants like clover thrown in for good measure.

A cow’s digestive system is significantly different from that of a human, and it’s one that was designed to thrive on the ubiquitous green carpeting we all know as grass.

Grass-fed beef is produced by cattle that eat grass and other foraged items solely throughout their lives. Therefore, what a cow consumes directly impacts the kinds and amounts of nutrients and fats you obtain from eating its flesh.

Meat from 100 percent grass-fed cows has even more nutrients than meat from grain-fed animals. All of that grass and roughage grazing rather than a diet of processed meals goes a long way.

One 214-gram lean grass-fed strip steak, for example, comprises approximately:

  • Calorie Count: 250
  • Protein content: 49.4 grams
  • Fat: 5.8 grams
  • Niacin: 14.3 milligrams (72 percent DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 1.4 milligrams (70 percent DV)
  • Selenium: 45.1 micrograms (64 percent DV)
  • Zinc: 7.7 milligrams (52 percent DV)
  • Phosphorus: 454 milligrams (45 percent DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 2.7 micrograms (45 percent DV)
  • Ferrous Sulphate: 4 milligrams (22 percent DV)
  • Potassium: 732 milligrams (21 percent DV)
  • Pantothenic acid: 1.5 milligrams (15 percent DV)
  • Magnesium: 49.2 milligrams (12 percent DV)
  • Thiamin: 0.1 milligram (7 percent DV)
  • Folate: 27.8 micrograms (7 percent DV)
  • Copper: 0.1 gram (7 percent DV)

Beef: Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed

The cows’ diet is the main difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. One group consumes grass largely, whereas the other eat mostly grain or a corn-and-soy-based artificial diet.

Their food may considerably influence the nutritional makeup of livestock. For example, this indicates that grass-fed beef has more nutrients, particularly healthy fats, than grain-fed meat.

According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, grass-fed animals deliver higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than concentrate-fed animals. Grass-fed beef has up to five times the amount of omega-3s as grain-fed meat.

CLA levels in grass-fed burgers and steaks are also twice as high as in conventionally reared beef.

How to Include in Your Diet

Although grass-fed beef is somewhat more expensive per pound, it is well worth the extra expenditure. In addition, most supermarkets now include an organic department with at least one, if not more, grass-fed beef selection.

You don’t want to settle with “pasture-raised” or “natural.” Ideally, the label should state that the beef was 100% grass-fed, indicating it was grass-fed and grass-finished.

If a beef product does not state that it is 100% grass-fed or that it is both grass-fed and grass-finished, it is most likely grain-finished. Make sure the label also says the beef is hormone-free and antibiotic-free.

A label from the American Grassfed Association (AGA) or the American Food Alliance (AFA) on the container is also a bonus. Regarding grass-fed labeling, the AGA and AFA have more stringent regulations than the USDA.

Choosing grass-fed AND organic goods is even better. However, it’s crucial to remember that grass-fed doesn’t always mean organic, and organic doesn’t always mean grass-fed.

Grass-fed cows likely wandering the pasture eat industrial fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on the grass, so choosing organic, grass-fed beef is the way to go if you want the most natural, cleanest steak imaginable. However, it’s also worth noting that some farmers keep their cows organically and grass-fed yet cannot get organic certification. That’s why it’s crucial to do your homework and understand where your meat comes from.

Finding a local farmer in your neighborhood that grows cattle on open, free ranges, feeds them only fresh and dried grasses, and doesn’t use any form of medications, such as hormones or antibodies, is one of the finest ways to consume grass-fed beef. You’ll be healthier and happier if you buy your food locally, from cattle to apples. You’ll also make a difference in your community in ways that only shopping locally can.

Are you ready to get cooking and get the nutritional and health advantages of grass-fed beef?

Grass-fed meat has a distinct flavor from grain-fed beef. Many people prefer grass-fed beef over grain-fed beef because it has a more earthy or grassy flavor.

It’s also worth noting that grass-fed meat cooks 30 percent quicker than grain-fed beef due to its lower fat content.

Side Effects and Risks

You can get all of the amazing grass-fed beef nutrients with a lesser risk of hazardous illnesses when you eat grass-fed beef. However, you must handle and prepare your beef properly to prevent food poisoning.

To be safe, the USDA advises cooking hamburgers and ground beef mixes (such as meatloaf) to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit using a food thermometer (71.1 degrees C). In addition, before removing steaks and roasts from the heat source, the USDA advises reaching a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F (62.8 degrees C).

Allow the beef to rest for a minimum of three minutes before consuming it, both for safety and quality reasons.

Last Thoughts

  • When you eat grass-fed beef, you’re not only doing something wonderful for yourself, but you’re also eating ethically and supporting cow welfare. If you’ve been eating grain-fed beef for the most of your life, you may be perplexed as to how to transition to grass-fed beef.
  • Choosing grass-fed beef nutrition is a powerful step toward living a healthy, abundant life, as it has been shown to potentially fight cancer, reduce heart disease risk, improve blood sugar levels, and even benefit the environment, all while being a safer beef option that’s free of hormones and antibiotics.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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