Grass-Fed Beef Benefits

Image of a white plate topped with cooked beef, vegetables, and a pot of sauce.
Credit: Orkun Orcan

Image of a white plate topped with cooked beef, vegetables, and a pot of sauce.
Credit: Orkun Orcan

Choosing between grass-fed and grain-fed beef can be a challenging decision, as some individuals are opting for pasture-raised meat due to its potential health advantages.

Grass-fed beef, in particular, is one of the best foods for protein, containing vitamins A and E to support an overall balanced diet.

However, understanding how these nutrients in grass-fed beef specifically benefit your health can be challenging, especially when certain studies present conflicting information about their effects.

To help you get your head around the potential advantages of grass-fed beef and whether it is suitable for your diet, we have compiled a comprehensive guide. Here is our perspective on grass-fed beef and its potential health benefits...

Grass-fed beef nutritional information

It's important to know a little bit more about grass-fed beef's nutritional profile in order to understand its potential health benefits.

The issue is the exact calories, protein, fat, and carb content will vary depending on the size of the cut and where exactly the beef has come from.

That said, WebMD has put together what a typical 3.5 oz. (100g) serving of raw grass-fed beef should contain, with the article reviewed by Dr. Dan Brennan, MD.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 198
  • Protein: 19.4g
  • Fat: 12.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
Image of a raw grass-fed beef sirloin steak next to garlic.
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Credit: The Wild Meat Company

However, the nutritional value of grass-fed beef doesn't end there. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of consuming grass-fed over grain-fed is that it typically contains vitamins A, E, B3, B6, and B12.

Vitamin E is worth noting, in particular, as it's widely linked to the development of antioxidants, with a study by Descalzo et al. finding that fresh meat produced on pasture had higher antioxidant levels than meat from grain-fed animals.

Another key difference is that grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed beef. A study by Van Elswyk and McNeill found grass-fed beef to be the leaner product of the two. As a result, grass-fed beef usually contains fewer calories per gram compared to grain-fed alternatives.

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Potential health benefits of grass-fed beef

On the surface, grass-fed beef looks to be a particularly impressive food thanks to the number of key vitamins and minerals it is said to contain. Therefore, there are several potential health benefits of eating it. Here are some which stand out to us...

Maintains a healthy heart

One of the most commonly associated benefits of eating grass-fed beef is that it tends to contain less fat.

A review of grass vs. grain-fed studies by Daley et al. supports this as it suggests that, in general, grass-fed beef has a lower overall fat content than grain-fed alternatives, particularly when it came to unwanted saturated fat.

In turn, consuming grass-fed beef should help you maintain a healthy heart as saturated fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease as it raises your bad LDL cholesterol levels and lowers your good HDL cholesterol profile according to the Heart Foundation.

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Reduces risk of disease

Another potential and fairly sizable health benefit of consuming grass-fed beef is that it usually contains vitamin E along with several other antioxidants that may reduce your risk of disease in general.

For instance, research by Gatellier et al. found that grass-fed beef contained more superoxide dismutase and glutathione antioxidants, both of which have been linked by Robbins and Zhao to fighting cancerous cells.

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Moreover, the aforementioned Daley et al. review also found that pasture-raised beef contains more Omega-3 fatty acids which, according to Havard School of Public Health, have been shown to prevent heart disease and strokes.

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Improved performance during exercise

It's fairly common knowledge that protein is the key to building muscle, but on top of protein, grass-fed beef is said to come with several lesser-known nutrients, including creatine and carnosine, that may help improve your performance during exercise.

Creatine, in particular, is one of the most widely researched supplements, with the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggesting it can enhance and improve your overall training performance.

To support this, a study by Rawson and Volek found creatine supplementation increased the overall strength of participants by 8%. As a result, consuming grass-fed beef should increase your overall creatine consumption and training performance beyond simply using some of the best pre-workout supplements around.

Carnosine may also improve your athletic performance, with some studies, including one looking into its health benefits by Xing et al., finding links to anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. So, increasing your carnosine intake through grass-fed beef may help you improve your recovery post-workout.

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How much grass-fed beef should you eat?

Like with all foods, grass-fed beef should be consumed in moderation, and should be eaten alongside other types of meats and fish during the week for a more balanced diet.

Generally speaking, the Cleveland Clinic recommends eating just one to two servings of red meat (around 6 oz.) a week to minimise its impact on your cholesterol. We feel this advice can also be applied to both grass and grain-fed beef consumption.

By sticking to these recommendations, you shouldn't find yourself over-supplying your body with some of pasture-raised beef's key nutrients which could lead to adverse side effects. For example, consuming too much vitamin A may cause dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and headaches.

To help you avoid eating too much, there are plenty of grass-fed snacks available, like these CHOMPS Grass-Fed Beef Jerky Sticks, which are relatively small and could act as a great starting point to slowly introduce grass-fed beef into your diet.

Ultimately though, choosing how much you should consume as well as whether you should make the switch to grass-fed beef comes down to you.

However, our guide has hopefully provided a little more insight so you can make an informed decision. That said, we'd also recommend doing some research of your own if you're not completely sure if grass-fed beef is for you.

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