Nutrition and Health
Health Benefits to Eating Pastured Beef
Score Ten for Grass-Fed Beef
A 2009 joint study between the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina compared grain-fed beef with grass-fed beef and found grass-fed beef was:
1. Lower in total fat
2. Higher in beta-carotene
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
6. Higher in total omega-3s
7. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
You Can Include Beef in Your Low Fat, Heart Healthy, Cancer Fighting Diet
Can have up to one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal.
Grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk. Research shows that lean beef actually lowers your "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.
Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are called "good fats" because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body.
People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.
Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer's disease.
Another benefit of omega-3s is that they may reduce your risk of cancer.
In animal studies, these essential fats have slowed the growth of a wide array of cancers and also kept them from spreading. Although the human research is in its infancy, researchers have shown that omega-3s can slow or even reverse the extreme weight loss that accompanies advanced cancer and also hasten recovery from surgery.
It has been estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Twenty percent have blood levels so low that they cannot be detected. Switching to the meat, milk, and dairy products of grass-fed animals is one way to restore this vital nutrient to your diet.
The CLA bonus is that meat and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called "conjugated linoleic acid" or CLA.
When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their products contain three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.
CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth.
There is new evidence that CLA may also reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Switching from grain-fed to grassfed meat and dairy products places women in this lowest risk category. Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grassfed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grain-fed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection.
Vitamin E. In addition to being higher in omega-3s and CLA, meat from grassfed animals is also higher in vitamin E.
The meat from the pastured cattle is four times higher in vitamin E than the meat from the feedlot cattle and, interestingly, almost twice as high as the meat from the feedlot cattle given vitamin E supplements.
In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E.
Eating moderate amounts of grass-fed meat for only 4 weeks will give you healthier levels of essential fats, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The British research showed that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their level of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
These changes are linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease.
Interestingly, volunteers who consumed conventional, grain-fed meat ended up with lower levels of omega-3s and higher levels of omega-6s than they had at the beginning of the study, suggesting that eating conventional meat had been detrimental to their health.
The most abundant omega-3 in pastured products is called “alpha-linoleic acid” or ALA.
A study of breast cancer survivors revealed that the women with the most ALA in their tissues---and therefore the most ALA in their diets---were one fourth as likely to have their cancers return as women with the least amount. Most women who die from breast cancer die from a tumor that has metastasized, not from the original tumor. This is yet another reason to eat cheese, milk, and meat from pastured animals.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a cancer-fighting fat that is most abundant in grassfed products.
In Finland, researchers measured CLA levels in the serum of women with and without breast cancer. Those women with the most CLA had a significantly lower risk of the disease.
French researchers measured CLA levels in the breast tissues of 360 women. Once again, the women with the most CLA had the lowest risk of cancer. In fact, the women with the most CLA had a staggering 74% lower risk of breast cancer than the women with the least CLA.
The most natural and effective way to increase your intake of CLA is to eat the meat and dairy products of grassfed animals.
Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA has demonstrated a multitude of benefits in animal studies, including fat reduction, increase in lean muscle mass, reduced risk of diabetes, reversal of arteriosclerosis, and a marked reduction in tumor growth.
There are 16 different types of CLA, each with a slightly different molecular shape. New research reveals that each type of CLA has a different set of benefits.
The type of CLA most abundant in meat and dairy products (referred to by chemists as "cis-9, trans-11, CLA") appears to be the champion cancer fighter. Compared with another common type of CLA (trans 10, cis 12, CLA) it was a third more effective in blocking the growth of human cancer cells. (78% versus 58% reduction) But the type of CLA found in meat and dairy products does not appear to reduce fat or increase lean muscle mass in humans. (That property is linked with trans 10, cis 12, CLA)
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control recently determined the vitamin E status of 16,000 American men and women.
Twenty-percent per cent of white Americans, 41 per cent of African Americans, and 28 per cent of Mexican Americans were deficient in vitamin E.
Vitamin E deficiencies have been linked with diabetes, immune disorders, AIDS, muscle damage in exercise, Parkinson's disease, eye diseases, and lung and liver diseases.
Switching to the products of animals raised on grass (which is far richer in vitamin E than grain) would help prevent this widespread deficiency.