Grassfed beef isn’t just for hipsters; It’s for anyone who values health. As one of the steps to a healthy diet, I recommend switching to grassfed beef if possible. Yes, any beef is going to be a good source of protein, and important minerals and vitamins, but grassfed beef has some really important advantages (and I’ll tell you how to buy it for a good price too).
After you read these benefits, you may want to cook some beef right away! Check out this recipe for Mini Meatloaves with links to other beef-centered recipes that are wonderful with grassfed beef.
Grassfed beef has more omega-3 fatty acids
We hear a lot about omega-3 fatty acids, and for good reason! It’s an essential nutrient that our bodies can’t make, so we need to get it from our food. Research has shown that this important nutrient is helpful for preventing depression (including post-partum), schizorenia, hyperactivity, and even Alzheimer’s disease. It reduces inflammation and may lower your risk for everything from heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Because omega 3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain, it is also likely that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for memory and proper brain function. Babies who do not get enough in the womb are more at risk for developing vision and nerve problems, and a rat study suggested that diets high in omega 6 fatty acids during pregnancies could leave to higher risks of breast cancer for several generations after (even when on a healthy diet after born).
Common symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency include fatigue, poor memory and/or circulation, heart problem, depression, poor growth in children and infants, getting infections easily, poor wound healing, and mood swings.
All to say, omega-3 fatty acids are very important for our health, and I think one of the greatest benefits to grassfed beef is the fact that it has such a higher amount of omega 3-fatty acids. Grassfed beef can have anywhere from double to quadruple the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in comparison to feedlot or grain finished beef. The more days a cow spends eating grain and not grass, the more omega-3 content it will lose. The reason is simple; cows turn the chloroplasts of green grass into omega-3’s. Take them away from it, and they won’t be producing it anymore.
Grassfed beef is a good source of vitamin E
A vitamin we don’t always hear as much about is vitamin E, but it’s also an important, vital vitamin we all need. It has been linked to helping memory for moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease patients, helping alleviate painful menstruation and PMS in some women, and it could also help some types of liver disease, male infertility, Rheumatoid arthritis, and many other ailments.
As always, getting our vitamins in food form is the best, and grassfed beef is a good source of vitamin E, with a significantly higher amount of vitamin E than grain finished beef.
Grassfed beef is an excellent source of CLA
CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid) is a PUFA that has been linked to helping prevent diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. And while beef is a good source, grassfed beef is one of the best sources of it; with double or triple the amount of CLA in comparison to grain fed beef. Dairy is also a source – including butter! Just another reason to buy butter from pastured cows! I loved this tidbit that Jo Robinson shared on her website Eatwild.com,
“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.”
That’s pretty amazing!
Don’t be fooled though – some studies have shown that supplements of CLA had a negative impact on health, instead of a positive. Once again, getting what we need from our food is the best way to go.
Grassfed beef is more nutritious overall
A good general rule with grassfed beef is that it’s simply higher in most nutrients, whether you look at zinc, vitamin A, potassium, or many other nutrients. That’s pretty exciting to me. Whenever I can put the same dish in front of my family and know that there is a higher amount of bodybuilding, health-promoting nutrients on their plate, I am thrilled. I find I feel that even more when feeding children, as their bodies need good nutrition to grow, but they tend to be a little picky. I love it that each bite of meat counts for more when I fed them grassfed beef.
Turning land back into pasture (for raising grassfed cattle and other ruminants) can heal our soil
A huge problem in our country is the health of our soil. If our health starts in our gut, our environment’s health starts in the soil. But land can be revived and healed again, just like the body can. And turning land back into pastures of perennial grasses is a great way to do it. While common crops like wheat and corn strip the soil of nutrients, grasses actually build up the healthy organic matter in our soil. Buying grassfed beef helps ensure that our soil is getting renewed for a better future.
Where to buy grassfed beef
Cheapest way I’ve found to buy grassfed beef is buying it from a local farmer in bulk. I love that I get all of my cuts of beef for such an amazing prize! (Generally around 3-4 dollars in our area).
Getting in touch with your local Weston A Price Chapter group often gives you great resources, as one of the main goals for the groups is resource sharing. They will be able to give you information on where to find food items like grassfed beef in your local area, and some groups even organize buying shares of cows together.
In my area, I often see grassfed meat being sold at farmers markets. This will generally be much more expensive than when buying in bulk, but works out great for those without much freezer space. It’s also a great place to make connections to local farmers and see if they offer quarter shares of cows for less. Check for local farmers markets here.
But even using Craig’s List can help you make connection with local farmers. I checked there while writing this post, and was pleased to find a nearby farmer selling 100% grassfed beef for a little over $3 a pound when bought in bulk. (Please use common sense and due diligence when using public forums such as Craig’s list).
And finally, there are several online stores where you can purchase grassfed beef. I know that not everyone is surrounded by nearby farms where you can buy grassfed beef, so this is a great resource for some. I asked some of my real food blogging friends what companies they recommended, and my affiliate Tendergrass Farms was a top recommendation. They bring together many farmers to able to offer not only grassfed beef, but pastured chicken and “better than organic” pork. Check them out!