Author: Sean-Michael Price, BSc Human Physiology (University of Pretoria)
Veld Grazed beef is what we consider as cattle that are free to roam in wide open pastures and fields, they eat what they find without any supplementation or interference. Unfortunately it is often difficult to navigate through all the different labels and certifications of products and what they mean. Almost all western research calls animals that fit this lifestyle as Grass-Fed beef, South Africa is yet to have an official, government approved certification authority for this term. However, we will use this to present evidence and results from research programs.
1: Grass-Fed Beef Has Fewer Calories
Beef from grass-fed cattle is lower in total fat content because their diet is more natural and clean. Although the type of fat and where it is deposited is very different in grass-fed beef, the lower total fat content lowers the number of calories compared to conventional beef.
2: Grass-Fed Beef Helps Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Beef from grass-fed cattle contains a certain beneficial fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA can help prevent several diseases and conditions like obesity and diabetes. A recent randomized, double-blinded study concluded that 37% of the people who were given CLA demonstrated better insulin sensitivity over those who weren’t given CLA. Insulin sensitivity helps promote healthy blood sugar levels.
3: Grass-Fed Beef Contains Electrolytes
The three main electrolytes essential for regular homeostasis are sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Fortunately, grass-fed meat has ample amounts of all three essential electrolytes. One grass-fed sirloin steak contains on average around 732 milligrams of potassium, 49 milligrams of magnesium, and 118 milligrams of sodium.
4: Grass-Fed Beef Helps Fight Cancer
Grass-fed beef contains roughly twice the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to beef from grain-fed cows. Most naturally occurring nutrients containing anticarcinogenic properties are derived from plant foods, but CLA is unique because it’s one of the only anticancer nutrients derived from meat.
CLA is considered to be one of the strongest nutrients which can defend against cancer. A study conducted on women who were given high amounts of CLA-rich foods had roughly a 60% lower risk in breast cancer over those who had little to no amounts of CLA in their diet.
5: Grass-Fed Beef Contains More Healthy Fats
Grass-fed beef provides up to six times more omega–3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Grain-fed beef, on the other hand, contains higher levels of omega–6 fatty acids, which are already eaten in surplus in most standard diets.
Here are some of the benefits from increased omega–3 consumption:
- Alleviates Rheumatoid arthritis: Omega–3s are highly effective in decreasing all markers of inflammation.
- Helps with depression: Researchers have seen an increase in mental well-being by supplementing with omega–3 fatty acids.
- Helps you focus: Recent studies conducted show omega–3s to be a promising alternative to alleviate attention deficit disorders (ADHD) over stimulant medications.
6: Grass-Fed Beef Contains Less Bacteria
Some studies show that conventional beef is more prone to containing bacteria than grass-fed beef. One of the largest studies conducted analyzed 300 packages of minced beef. They found an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in three of the grain-fed samples and zero in the grass-fed packages.
Additionally, they found 18% of the non-grass-fed beef samples containing superbugs — bacteria that is resistant to more than three types of antibiotics — compared to only 9% of beef samples from grass-fed livestock. This is extremely rare, but can lead to food poisoning.
7: Eating Grass-Fed Beef Can Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease
Clinical evidence concludes a decreased risk of heart disease with an increased consumption of CLA, a nutrient abundant in grass-fed beef[*]. Grass-fed beef can help improve your heart health by:
- Antioxidants such as vitamin E
- High amounts of omega–3 fatty acids
- Less unhealthy fats
- Lower amounts of bad cholesterol (known as LDL cholesterol) a marker of cardiovascular disease