Cattle were not designed to eat grains, and because of that, their diet of grains in factory farms and feedlots largely contributes to the negative health aspects of our eating beef. In an article by Brenda Ruble, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who has been a facilitator of health and healing for the past twenty years, she states:
“People often ask me what the health benefits are of grass-fed beef and lamb versus their grain-fed counterparts. From a nutritional standpoint let’s take a look at some of the differences".
Grass-fed animals produce:
500 % more CLA
400% more Vitamin A
300 % more Vitamin E
75% more Omega 3s
All that, and we’re just getting warmed up!
So just what is CLA? Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a good fat found almost exclusively in the meat and dairy products of ruminant animals. Notice it’s a “good fat” which means it’s found in “the fat” of animals that we’ve all been taught to avoid. Interestingly enough, in animal studies it has been shown repeatedly that the consumption of CLA can inhibit the growth of tumours. Scientists consider CLA to be one of the most potent of all naturally occurring anti-carcinogens. Some of you may have seen artificial forms of CLA available as a nutritional supplement in your local health food stores.
However, naturally occurring CLA from ruminant animals is 600% more effective at fighting cancer than anything in pill form. Animals fed small amounts of grain during their lifespan, then finished on pasture have less than half the CLA of animals raised exclusively on pasture. In addition, animals moved from a pasture operation to a grain fed one will lose almost all of their CLA in just five days of grain! This is vitally important! What this means is, if your animal is butchered at a slaughterhouse instead of in the pasture where it roams, it will have been fed grain. Not only do you want grass-fed beef and lamb, but you want to know that it wasn’t fed any grain prior to butchering.
Now for Vitamin A, E and the omega 3′s…Vitamin A is a critical fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for growth and tissue healing, healthy skin, normal vision, cancer prevention, anti-oxidation, cell division and cell differentiation, just to name a few. Supplementary Vitamin A is used in the treatment and prevention of both infectious and non-infectious diseases by supporting the production and function of white blood cells.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to stabilize cell membranes and protect the tissues of the skin, eyes, liver, heart and lungs. In addition it is used to stabilize blood fats protecting the blood vessels, heart and entire body from free radical damage.
Our bodies cannot make omega 3s and they must be consumed regularly in our diet. The omega-3 fatty acids are formed in the green leaves of plants, algae and phytoplankton. Animals grazing on these “salad greens” store omega 3s in their body tissues, which are ultimately passed on to humans through the food chain. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and play an important role in the reduction of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and asthma.
Not only are grass fed animals much better for your health, it’s much healthier for the animals as well.