Is grass fed meat and protein really worth the extra money? Do the health benefits really outweigh the cost? In my opinion, long-term health comes at no cost.
Meat, eggs, and dairy products from grass-fed animals are ideal for your health, as they offer you more “good” fats, and fewer “bad” fats than those that are grain-fed. They are rich in antioxidants, including vitamins E, beta-carotene and vitamin C. They also do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
So, why is grass fed so much better for us?
Omega 3 -6 ratios
Omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, they are called essential because if our body doesn’t get enough of them we get sick. Our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids so it is essential we get them from our diet.
Although they are both essential they are very different. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory while Omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is essential for our bodies to survive but can also cause damage and contribute to disease if it’s excessive. The grain-fed beef or produce we buy from the supermarket has omega 6-3 ratios of up to 20:1, whereas grass fed has ratios of 3:1. The same can be said for caged and free-range hens. There is typically 10 times more Omega-3 in a free-range egg than an egg from a caged hen.
Omega 3 benefits
So, now we know that one of the reasons that grass-fed produce is better before is because it contains more of the essential fat Omega-3, but what is so good about omega 3?
What do we like doing best? We train hard and we eat a lot. These can create inflammation in our bodies which, if repeated, over time, can cause inflammatory disease and make us more prone to age related illnesses. Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory and keeps the body’s cells healthy and functioning for longer.
Out of all the fats, Omega-3 fats 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. They are 50 percent 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), Alzheimer's disease, cancer and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
Grass fed meat and protein is also the richest known source of another good fat called CLA. Animals raised on fresh grass and vegetables contain up to five times more CLA than animals on conventional diets. Studies have shown that women with high levels of CLA have 60% less chance of breast cancer.
In addition to having higher amounts of Omega-3 and CLA, grass-fed produce is also high in vitamin E. Like Omega-3 and CLA, it also linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as being a potent antioxidant it may also have anti-aging properties.
To summarise …
If your health is of utmost importance, then grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy is certainly the way to go. Doing your best to ensure you have the right ratio of healthy fats from grass-fed sources will ensure your body will function optimally for longer.
“You are what you eat, eats”