Grass fed beef costs more than grain fed beef. So is the health difference between the 2 types of beef really worth the cost? The answer for me is an emphatic yes but you shouldn’t take my word for it.
First, Omega 3 vs Omega 6 fats: Whether it’s grain fed or grass fed, the Omega 6 count stays the same. However, the Omega 3 count goes up between 2-5 times higher with grass fed beef. Optimal ratio of Omega 6 to 3 should be ideally 1:1 but it is accepted that 2:1 is ok but we increase our chances of heart disease, cancer and so many other degenerative diseases when the ratio gets higher than 4:1. Our hunter gatherer ancestors had ratios of 1:1. The ratio in grass fed beef is about 1.53:1 and in grain fed beef is all the way up to 7.65:1.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of fatty acid that exhibits high anti-oxidant properties that protects against things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Beef is one of the best dietary sources of CLA and grassfed beef has on average 2-3 times the amount of CLA as that found in grain fed beef.
Vitamins and minerals: Grass fed beef contains significantly higher amounts of caretenoids, like beta carotene which is a pre-cursor to Vitamin A. Grain fed beef contains virtually no caretenoids. Glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase are also much higher in grass fed beef. These are important antioxidants that play a role in protecting our cells from oxidation, especially delicate fats in the cell membrane such as omega 3 and 6.
These are some of the benefits of choosing grass fed over grain fed beef. However, price is a common concern and not everyone can afford grass fed beef. It’s important to note that any red meat is a healthier choice than most of the conventional foods that so many people in America eat. Just remember that grass fed meat is more nutrient dense than grain fed, so even though it is more expensive, you’re getting more nutritional bang for your buck. Another factor worth considering is the ethical and environmental implications of grain fed vs. grass fed beef.