What is Grass-fed beef and is it healthier for me?
The common sense answer to the first question grass-fed beef is beef that comes from cows that have been…you guessed it, grass-fed.
But is it healthier?
The short answer is yes. Beef from grass-fed cattle has a healthier fat profile and contains more antioxidants
Is it also organic?
MOST (but not all) grass-fed beef is also organic, which is even better because you know the cattle are eating pesticide-free grass. Here’s where it gets tricky…again, just because its organic doesn’t mean it’s grass-fed. Organic beef can also come from cattle fed organic grain.
What is the difference between organic beef vs. grass-fed beef production?
True grass-fed cattle, as mentioned above, spend their entire lives roaming around happily chewing in grass fields. Most other cattle get sold into the feedlot system, where they’re stuck in small, confined spaces and fed grain (organic or not organic depending) to fatten them up quickly. Grass-fed cattle are also less likely to have been given antibiotics or hormones.
Is there much difference, nutrient wise?
Meat from cattle that have been raised on grass only, contain two to three times the amount of CLAs (conjugated linoleic acids) as grain-fed beef. CLAs are healthy fats researchers have associated with reduced cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk, and better cholesterol levels. Grass-fed beef has also been found to have healthier ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as higher levels of antioxidants like vitamin E and A.
Bottom line is…
Nutrient-wise, high-quality grass-fed beef is going to beat organic if that beef is coming from cows fed organic grain. The absolute best beef for your health and Mother Earth is meat from happy, grass-fed cattle raised on organic pastures.
Keep in mind that while the USDA Organic seal is a stamp that means the producer is being regularly checked to make sure they meet the standard, grass-fed is a term that isn’t subject to a federal standard. This means there may be cheaters using the term on packaging.
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