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What is the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed beef?

110414_5_mmmmeat056From Neil Patel D.C.

The process of feeding cows can have a detrimental effect on the nutritional profile of beef depending on the content of their feed. Throughout the evolutionary process, cattle roamed free and ate grass, an anti-inflammatory diet. Today, beef on shelves of super markets are most often grain-fed and pro-inflammatory, unless otherwise specified as grass-fed on the packaging. Numerous studies show nutrient content of meat can vary depending on the cows' diet.

Calves need to be raised on a mother's milk and eat grass or other edible plants to grow properly. Grass-fed beef producers continue to feed the calf grass throughout adulthood. A cow's stomach was not made to digest grain. Despite this evolutionary fact, conventionally raised calves are moved to a feedlot at one year of age. These feedlots are caged areas where cows are force feed soy, corn and grain to rapidly increase the weight of the cow.

Grass- versus grain-fed cows significantly differ in nutritional composition. Grass-fed cattle contain increased amounts of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed cattle have a higher profile of omega 3 fatty acids contributing to an anti-inflammatory profile. They also contain conjugated linoleic acid: a fatty acid associated with reducing body fat. Cattle that eat grass have better quality and increased amounts of B vitamins, vitamins A and E, and micronutrients like iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus to name a few. Overall, grass-fed meat is highly nutritious and beneficial to the human body.

Any animal that eats grains throughout its life cycle carries a higher amount of omega 6 than omega 3 fatty acids, thereby increasing the inflammatory content of the animal. However, an animal that eats grass carries a higher amount of omega 3 than omega 6 fatty acids as well as increased vitamins and minerals reducing inflammation. This simple fact can be attributed to all grazing animals such as goats, lambs, chickens as well as dairy products and eggs. Eating foods to reduce inflammation will reduce disease processes in the body. Always looking for grass-fed or free-range meat and meat products can greatly add to your healthy lifestyle.

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