Continuing last week’s article on why grass fed is better than grain-fed beef, we are going to explain the next three points in the list, to help us make sense of it all. As a reminder, the ten reasons are listed again:
- Lower in total fat
- Higher in beta-carotene
- Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
- Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
- Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Higher in total omega-3s
- A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
- Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
- Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
- Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
4. Higher in the B-vitamins Thiamin and Riboflavin
Thiamin, also known as Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, helps to maintain the body’s energy supplies, coordinates the activity of nerves and muscles and supports proper heart function. It is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex meaning it can dissolve in water. There are two types of vitamins – water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are carried through the bloodstream.
We need vitamin B1 so that our body can use carbohydrates as energy – it is essential for glucose metabolism. Whatever our bodies do not use up is eliminated in urine. Therefore, we need a continuous supply of vitamin B1 – we need to be consuming it daily. Thiamine is a co-enzyme – it helps some enzymes work properly.
Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, helps protect cells from oxygen damage, supports cellular energy production and helps to maintain the body’s supply of other B vitamins. It is needed for periods of rapid growth, it is also needed when protein intake is high, and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.
Riboflavin is continuously excreted in the urine of healthy individuals, making deficiency relatively common when dietary intake is insufficient, therefore, consuming grass-fed meat can help decrease your chances of suffering from a Vitamin B2 deficiency.
5. Higher in the minerals calcium and magnesium
Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs it to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.
The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. It is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.
Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
6. Higher in total omega-3s
Meat from grass-fed animals has 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack.
Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3s are most abundant in seafood and certain nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and walnuts, but they are also found in animals raised on pasture. The reason is simple. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae and 60% of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s.
We hope this has helped you understand a little more what positive differences eating grass-fed meat can have on your health. Keep an eye out next week for the final part of this article, when we talk about Omega-6, CLA and saturated fats.