We’ve all heard the many grass fed beef benefits, like how it is one of the best protein choices out there. But do you know WHY that is? And is it the truth or just one more marketing claim?
It can be hard to cut through all the hype to find the cold, hard facts about grass fed beef. Here is some scientifically-backed evidence about the health benefits of grass fed beef that you won’t get from the “traditional” grain-fed beef.
Grass Fed Beef Benefits
These are a few of the proven main health benefits of grass fed beef:
Lower in Calories and Saturated Fat
Each cut of organic grass-fed beef contains fewer calories and fewer grams of saturated fat than its traditional counterpart. The reason is that when a cow eats a lot of grain, it ends up packing on the pounds, mostly as fat. That means there is more fat, more calories and less protein in every serving of traditionally-raised meat.
When cows eat grass, they don’t pack on as many pounds of fat as grain-fed cows. This means that they produce less meat overall, but the meat they do produce contains less saturated fat per serving than grain-fed meat.
Higher in Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats are considered essential fats in the diet, meaning they must come from the food we eat. There are few sources of omega-3s in our modern diets. Fish, flaxseeds and walnuts are all good sources of omega-3s, but many of us don’t eat enough of these foods. Organic grass fed beef is also a great source for this important fat, making it a good addition to a balanced diet.
Higher in CLAs
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that is naturally found in red meat and is particularly high in grass fed beef. It is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in normal metabolism, muscle growth and insulin sensitivity.
The average American consumes far less CLA than they need and this deficiency may contribute to the fact that so many Americans are overweight. By increasing CLA in your diet, you can give your body the fatty acids it needs to control your weight and improve your health overall.
Rich in Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important vitamin with antioxidant properties. It provides your skin with a protective layer of oil that locks in moisture and helps keep out toxins, pollution, chemicals and UV radiation. It also helps prevent cholesterol accumulation in the arteries.
Meat from grass-fed beef contains a lot more vitamin E than grain-feed meat, even the meat from cows injected with daily doses of synthetic vitamin E.
Less Likely to be Contaminated
In 2011, it was discovered that 47% of the poultry and meat in supermarkets contained staph bacteria. Worse still, the bacteria was the drug-resistant type that was nearly impossible for traditional medications to eradicate.
Most of this meat came from densely-stocked industrial farms, where animals are fed low doses of antibiotics in their feed. Organic grass-fed cows are not given routine antibiotics, so they are far less likely to be contaminated by these drug-resistant bacteria.
Better for Your Heart
Remember how grass-fed meat contains a lot more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef? It turns out that this provides another one of the benefits of grass fed beef, as these fatty acids make it a heart smart food.
Omega-3s help lower triglycerides and help manage other blood lipids. They also reduce inflammation which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.
With all these incredible nutrients, you can see why grass-fed beef is such a good choice.
Grass Fed Ground Beef Recipes
Ready to enjoy the health benefits of grass fed beef? One of the classic ways to enjoy beef is in a succulent, juicy burger, and grass fed beef makes for about the tastiest burger you can imagine. Let’s look at an easy recipe for a delicious basic burger, plus a couple of variations for even more taste.
Here are a few of our favorite grass fed beef recipes:
Caramelized Onion Grass Fed Beef Burger
- 1 pound of ground grass fed beef
- 3-4 hamburger buns (depending on how big you like your patties)
- Wholegrain Mustard
- 1 egg
- Half cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 red onion
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lettuce/Salad mix
- Brown sugar
- In a large bowl, mix the beef, breadcrumbs and egg until combined. Add a dash of salt and pepper, a tablespoon of ketchup, and then mix again.
- Shape the mixture into 3-4 hamburger patties, put them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Place the hamburger buns (cut side up) under a medium grill until crispy.
- Slice and fry the onions. Add a dash of salt. When almost cooked, add a splash of balsamic vinegar (watch for the steam) and a dash of brown sugar. Stir well and keep warm.
- Finely slice the pickles.
- Remove the patties from the refrigerator and fry (you don’t need much oil) on both sides, on a medium heat until cooked through.
- Spread a small amount of mustard onto the bottom half of each bun and place the hamburger patty on top.
- Add a small amount of ketchup, then the balsamic onions, pickles and lettuce.
Garlic Grass Fed Beef Burger
This delicious variation is put together in basically the same way as the basic burger, but without the ketchup in the hamburger patty. The only additional ingredient is a bulb of fresh garlic.
- Wrap an entire bulb of garlic in foil and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
- When cool, remove the foil and you’ll find that the roast garlic escapes from its skin as though you’re squeezing toothpaste from a tube.
- Combine the roast garlic with the hamburger mixture, and then follow the instructions for the basic burger.
Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Grass Fed Beef Burgers
This burger actually has the cheese and bacon inside the patty — it’s a taste explosion! You’ll need 4-5 slices of bacon and half a cup of grated cheese (any will do — it just depends on what kind you prefer). For a different taste, add a dash of BBQ sauce to the hamburger mix instead of ketchup.
- Dice the bacon and fry until crisp.
- Allow it to cool completely and then make the hamburger patty as per the basic burger instructions.
- Gently fold the cheese into the hamburger patty before refrigeration, and then finish the rest of the burger following the basic burger recipe.
There are benefits to eating red meat, but grass-fed beef is the best choice for your health and your taste buds.