Clemson University

More Reasons to Eat Grass-fed

Excerpted from the American Grassfed Association:

According to a 2009 study* conducted by the USDA and Clemson University, grassfed beef is better for human health than grainfed beef in ten ways:
1. Lower in total fat
2. Higher in beta-carotene
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
6. Higher in total omega-3s
7. Better ratio of omega-6 to 3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

In past issues of this newsletter, we've discussed the top 5 health reasons for eating grassfed beef. Today, we're going to talk about numbers 6 through ten, all of which have to do with fats.

We've been brainwashed into thinking that all fats are bad for us, but the truth is that fats are a necessary component of a healthy diet. The human body needs an array of fats in the right amounts to function and remain disease-free. Grassfed beef is one way to add those healthy fats to a balanced diet.

Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats that play an important part in growth and metabolism. They can't be synthesized by the human body, so they have to come from our diet. Both reduce inflammation, lower the amount of serum cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent excess clotting and reduce the risk of cancer.

While both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are important individually, they also work in tandem and the ratio is critical. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a typical Western diet can be excessively heavy on the Omega 3s – up to a 30:1 ratio – when the ideal is closer to 1:1. The proper ratio can reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is another potent weapon in the arsenal against chronic disease. CLA can reduce cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and insulin resistance.

Vaccenic Acid is a transfat that occurs naturally in ruminant animals, but unlike its synthetically-produced cousins, is important for good health. A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that vaccenic acid protects against artherosclerosis, a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease.

Saturated Fats (cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins – LDL or “bad” cholesterol) all play a significant role in heart disease and stroke.

The choice is clear – grassfed beef is the healthy way to eat.