Advantages of Grass-Fed Beef
by FarmClub Editorial
There's probably nothing better than sitting in the yard with your family on a warm summer day at sundown with the rich aroma of grilled beef steak in the air. Who doesn't love a delicious steak from time to time, right?
Beef contains many vitamins and minerals. It's packed with vitamin B and rich in iron and zinc, among others. But with all the labels you see on the meat packages at the grocery store, how do you know which ones have the best nutritional value? Here are some of the advantages of choosing grass-fed beef over grain-fed or grain-finished cuts:
- Antibiotic-free. Grass-fed cows spend their lives roaming and eating grass and plants in open-range pastures. Unlike grain-fed cattle, they're never forced to eat grain. Grain is something that cattle aren't made to digest. Antibiotics help combat the adverse effects of this food source. Since grass-fed cows forage as nature intended, they don't require antibiotics to offset the damage caused by an unnatural grain diet.
- No Growth Hormones. Besides antibiotics, some farm owners also use steroid hormones on cattle to accelerate their growth. The manufacturing of meat from cattle raised on feedlots then becomes more expedient.
- Less Fat. Grass-fed livestock has less fat. This is because the plant the animals eat doesn't contain high sugars from grains that result in fat production. Research suggests that grass-fed beef may have two-thirds less total fat than that found in grain-fed beef. Of course, the actual difference in fat content varies significantly. This largely depends on the cut and even the conditions the cow was raised in. Cows raised in pens but fed with a grass diet will likely still have more fat than those with access to pasture.
- Cholesterol-friendly. Are you among those who are concerned about their cholesterol levels? Shifting your diet from grain-fed beef to grass-fed beef could improve your health. Studies show that grass-fed beef has fewer fatty acids that elevate cholesterol levels. It also appears to have more stearic acid, which has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels. This suggests that it will likely not increase your risk of heart disease.
- Easier on the Environment. In addition to the abovementioned health benefits of grass-fed beef, it's also better for the environment. Unlike cattle crowded into feedlots, those raised in pastures tend to utilize fewer fossil fuels. Besides, cows feeding on grass fertilize and maintain the land they mow down themselves. Not only does this improve the pasture ecosystem diversity, but it also increases the quality of runoff water.
Several variables determine how healthy any given meat really is. But as you can see, grain-fed or grain-finished cattle are often pumped with medications and forced to eat an unnatural diet. It’s a means for farm owners to make the most of the livestock's eventual slaughter.
So, it’s worth noting that if there's one thing that experts seem to agree on, it's that grass-fed beef is better for your health and the environment than the other options. Besides, knowing that the food you put on your table is free from antibiotics, hormones, and other potentially harmful substances is just priceless. Whether you’re looking for pork, beef, chicken, or seafood, you will find affordable, high-quality meat products at the Farm Club in Ontario.