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Grass-fed beef vs grain-fed beef- what’s the difference?

You may have started noticing that many butchers, supermarkets and restaurants are promoting ‘grass-fed’ beef. But aren’t cows supposed to be eating grass? Why are they promoting an already well-known fact about nature’s food chain?

There are three different types of animals; herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Cattle are herbivores. Herbivores tend to have a longer digestive tract to process and digest the high-cellulose diet they consume. Cows are full of fibre! In fact, they are so full of fibre that their stomachs have four distinctly different compartments to digest and process all that grass! Isn’t nature fascinating?!

In order for meat industries to increase turnover at a lower cost and timeframe, rather than allowing their cattle to feed naturally from the earth, they started feeding them grain to increase growth. The digestive tract of a cow did not evolve to eat grain, however. It evolved to eat grass. Consuming grain, which has a much higher energy density, not only causes disturbances in the digestive tract (including ulcers, abscesses and inflammation), but also disturbs the genetic make-up of the animal. This leads us into the world of epigenetics, where the environment (diet, lifestyle, location) can alter the DNA of a living creature. Do we really want to be tampering with nature? What will this mean in the long run?

If we allow nature to run its course and let cattle eat the right foods, we end up with healthier everything. Below are some benefits of consuming grass-fed beef:

  • Overall decreased fat.
  • Decrease in carcinogenics.
  • Increased glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase levels, which are all potent antioxidants.
  • Increased beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A; essential for cell differentiation, eyesight, immunity and growth and development.
  • Increased concentrations of vitamin E; a fat-soluble vitamin with strong antioxidant properties; particularly for supporting the heart.
  • Increased amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids as opposed to grain-fed beef. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required in our bodies. They look after our heart, our mind and decrease overall inflammation in our bodies; from arthritis to depression and even cancer.
  • Increased amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a fatty acid found in beef that supports our cardiovascular system; aids insulin resistance; decreases inflammation; supports our immune system; and is a fatty acid that may help to decrease body fat (it’s fat fighting fat!)! It may even be involved in cancer prevention.
  • Increased chlorophyll derivatives, which pleases the palate more (as it is more natural!).

So, when you buy grass-fed beef, you are not only doing yourself a marvelous favour, but you are also supporting the cattle farmers who do their best to produce ethical and quality meat. All our products at The Art of Wholefood use 100% grass-fed beef, so you can be assured you’re getting top quality and ethical produce every time.

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