Article by Geoff Brokx
Summer time is one of my favorite times of the year and one of the first things that comes to my mind is barbecues. Barbecuing is a great way to get together with friends and family while enjoying time outside. Many people enjoy eating steaks, burgers, and other sources of red meat as the main course for their meal. However, there is a lot of controversy over the health consequences of red meat in the diet. So how can you enjoy your favorite steak without worrying about your health? Choose grass-fed!
Diet can impact the health of an animal similar to how our diet affects our health. Cattle naturally eat grass, yet most of the meat in our supermarkets today is grain-fed. Grass-fed beef ranks higher in many nutritional categories when compared to grain-fed meat. This is especially true when talking about omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, and antioxidants such as vitamin A and E. Grass-fed meat is also lower in total fat and is a good source of Niacin, B12, B12, iron, zinc, and selenium. Grass-fed meat is almost always free of antibiotics and hormones as well.
If you have never tried grass-fed meat you are in for a treat. Grass-fed meat tastes different than grain-fed meat and needs to be prepared accordingly. Most people prefer to cook grass-fed meat medium rare due to its lower fat content. You can find grass-fed meat at your local health food store or find a local source at www.eatwild.com.
Nutrition in Grass-fed Meat
Grass-fed meat have shown to have higher omega-3 fatty acids when compared to grain-fed meat. Omega-3 fats are known as essential fatty acids or EFA, which means that our bodies cannot make them and we must get them from our diet. Omega-3 EFA’s are associated with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease. They help reduce inflammation and have shown benefits in supporting brain function associated with depression, autism, Alzheimer’s, and bipolar disorder.
CLA is another type of fat found in grass-fed meat. Studies have shown that CLA can reduce carcinogens that are commonly linked to cancer. CLA also has the ability to reduce body fat. It can help keep metabolism high which helps burn off extra fat. Finally, CLA is also shown to prevent heart disease. CLA prevents the deposition of plaque and lipids in arteries.
Research has also found grass-fed meat to be higher in antioxidants such as vitamin A and E. Vitamin A comes from a class of antioxidants known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are responsible for the yellow, orange, and red coloring that we naturally find in foods. Vitamin A is a critical fat soluble vitamin that is necessary for vision, bone growth, reproduction, and cell division.
Vitamin E is another fat soluble vitamin that protects our body against free-radicals. Free radicals can cause damage within our bodies and may contribute to diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. These are just a few of the benefits of grass-fed meat. In my opinion, eating red meat can be a nutritious part of anyones diet. So enjoy your summer, turn on the barbecue, and enjoy a grass-fed steak!