The Benefits of Eating NZ Grass-Fed Red Meat

In New Zealand we’re fortunate the majority of our beef cows are grass-fed, as opposed to being corn-fed or barley-fed as in other parts of the world. In a recent joint study by the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina, the following benefits were found in beef meat that was wholly raised on grass versus beef cows fed grains.

Benefits of Grass-fed Beef vs Grain-fed Beef

  • Leaner with half the total fat content
  • 54% more Beta-Carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A
  • 200% higher in vitamin E (Tocopherol), an antioxidant protecting cells against damage by free radicals
  • Increased levels of B vitamins Thiamin and Riboflavin
  • Higher levels of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium
  • Double the Omega-3 fatty acids (see below)
  • The same total saturated fat content as grain-fed beef, however grass-fed beef had reduced levels of Myristic and Palmitic saturated fatty acids, which are known to increase bad LDL cholesterol, and increased levels of stearic fatty acid, which has a neutral effect on overall Cholesterol
  • Better Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio (see below)

Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Grass-fed Beef

Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for good human health but because the body doesn’t produce them automatically they need to be obtained from food. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in cognitive function and memory, as well as normal human growth and development.

Research shows Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, while most Omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. It is important to have the correct ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in our diets.

As well as being abundant in grass-fed beef, Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish such as salmon and tuna, due to the algae and seaweed they eat.

Improve your Health by Eating New Zealand Beef

Grass-fed beef is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids because of the presence in the chlorophyll of grass in the form of alpha-linoleic acid. When cattle are fed more grain as opposed to grass, they lose their stores of Omega-3 fatty acids, and begin to store more Omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation, therefore disrupting the balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in the system.

In a nutshell, grass-fed beef is essential for good health, which means it is important we support local New Zealand beef farmers and buy locally-produced beef meat as opposed to grain-fed meat imported from overseas. The cost of grass-fed New Zealand meat may be higher, but in my opinion, the health benefits far outweigh the cost.

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