What’s the big deal about grass fed beef?
Most people have heard of grass fed beef, but not everyone has a clear picture of the health benefits of this amazing product. Prosper Meats is proud to offer grass fed and grass finished beef in our selection of products, and we are happy to spread the good news about this heart healthy beef.
What is grass fed beef?
Simply put, grass fed beef comes from cattle raised on pastures who eat a diet of grass for the majority of their lives. For more details about the intricacies of grass fed and grass finished beef, and to find out more about how our grass fed beef is fed only organic grass starting from weaning age, read our article here.
It may seem like a simple thing, but raising cattle on a grass fed diet is actually fairly difficult and not very cost-effective. Modern farming techniques have developed to allow farmers to raise beef cattle on a diet of grain and corn, with added hormones & antibiotics and often in factory-like conditions, so that fatty-yet-flavorful beef is produced quickly and efficiently. What the world is now waking up to is the fact that feeding cattle an artificial diet that’s full of additives in harsh, inhumane conditions leads to a product that is not exactly good for your health. Who’d have thought, right?
So what are the health benefits of grass fed beef?
Remember, since grass fed beef eat only grass, there is a noticeable difference in its fat content when compared to conventional beef. One of the major findings related to grass fed beef’s health benefits is that it has less total fat and less unhealthy fats like Monounsaturated Fats and Omega 6s than its grain fed counterparts. Along with this, grass fed beef has more of the good types of fats like Omega-3s and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) despite having less fat overall.
Let’s start with Omega-3s. If you don’t know, Omega-3s are one of the most studied fatty acids in the world. They are said to have many health benefits like improving eye health, brain development during pregnancy, and they may even have potential cancer fighting properties. Most importantly to us, Omega-3s play a crucial role in heart health as they reduce blood pressure, blood clots, inflammation, and they raise the levels of those “good” cholesterols we keep hearing about. If you’re interested in maintaining a healthy heart, as we all should be, then switching to grass fed beef makes a lot of sense.
Omega-3s offer some heart-healthy benefits that we can all appreciate, but we want to talk about CLA too. Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a type of Omega-6 fatty acid that we are currently learning more about. It is one of the few healthy types of Omega-6s, and it is 300% - 500% more prevalent in grass fed beef than in its grain fed counterparts. While we wait for even more rigorous studies to be conducted, there is a buzz going around the scientific community about CLA. Some initial studies on mice have shown that CLA, like Omega-3s, helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and even display some cancer fighting qualities. In addition to this, other studies are showing that CLA reduces inflammation and may even help with weight loss. There may be even more, quite numerous benefits of CLA, but we will wait for more studies until we say for certain. If you would like to read more about CLA click here and here.
Speaking of nutrients, the benefits of grass fed beef are not just in the fat content. Grass fed beef is more nutritious in the vitamins it contains as well. Studies have shown that grass fed beef contains more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and it’s richer in other vitamins and minerals like Vitamins B1 and B2 as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron to name a few. This means that grass fed beef has less unhealthy calories than grain fed beef and it provides more of the healthy fatty acids and nutrients that our bodies need. If you are interested in more reports on this subject, click here and here.
If you didn’t know, Prosper Meats grass fed beef is also 100% organic. While we are discussing health benefits of grass fed beef, we’d be remiss if we didn’t speak to this as well as it is another factor that makes our beef healthier than most. Most people know that organic produce is free of harsh chemical pesticides. While there are arguments as to whether or not those pesticides actually make it to our digestive system in harmful quantities, there is no argument as to what pesticide-free soil is like when compared to conventional farming soil.
When conventional pesticides are used in farming practices, these chemicals stop pests, but they also affect the microbiology of the soil. Pesticides kill fungi and bacteria in plant soil, and this microbiology provides a lot when it comes to the vitamins and minerals found in organic plants. Studies show that organic plants do contain more vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as increased levels of antioxidants than plants raised via conventional farming techniques. Healthy soil produces grass with higher levels of vitamins and minerals and therefore the cattle that eat organic grass are healthier and provide healthier beef. It’s true that conventional produce contains vitamins and minerals with the aid of synthetic fertilizers, but the levels of these nutrients in organic produce is much higher. What is even more compelling to us is that cattle raised on organic grass contain even higher levels of heart-healthy Omega-3s. That’s right, organic grass fed beef will have even higher levels of Omega-3s than conventional grass fed beef. You can read more about the benefits of organic produce here and here.
One other element that is important to us is organic soil also promotes healthy environmental practices as it filters water, including runoff water, and promotes strong root systems. This means that drinking water is less affected by organic farming practices and these practices keep the ground robust so we don’t have another Dust Bowl on our hands. If you didn’t know, this intense focus on soil quality is why it takes so long for farms to become “certified organic”. It takes years for the microbiology in the soil to recover from conventional pesticides, and no farm can be organic until the soil is healthy again. Healthy soil is the foundation of truly healthy, environmentally friendly organic produce. When you combine the increased health benefits with the fact that organic produce is better for the environment, it was an easy decision for Prosper Meats to “go organic.”
It just makes sense, doesn’t it? Cattle that eat a natural diet of organic grasses in open pastures produce a healthier meat than cattle housed in harsh conditions and fed an artificial, purposefully fattening diet. You’ve probably heard the age old adage “You are what you eat.” As our society becomes more conscious of the truth in this statement, it makes sense that people are examining the food that their cows eat. When you eat a steak, you are in a way also eating the diet of that steak. To get the healthiest beef, select producers who consider all aspects of the lives of the cattle, from seed to plate.
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We at Prosper Meats take great pride in the fact that we have achieved a rating of 4 - “Pasture Raised” from the animal welfare group, the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).