Deciding between grass and grain-fed beef can be tricky at times, with some individuals making the switch to pasture-raised meat due to its potential health benefits.
Grass-fed beef, in particular, is said to be packed full of nutrients like vitamin A and E as well as protein, so could be the ideal addition to any gym-lovers diet alongside some of the best protein powder around.
That said, getting your head around how exactly the nutrients in grass-fed beef might benefit your health isn't necessarily easy, especially when some studies seem to provide conflicting information on how certain nutrients might affect your health.
Fortunately, we've put together a guide to help you get clued up on grass-fed beef and its possible advantageous qualities so you can figure out whether it seems right to add to your diet.
With that in mind, here's our take 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.
- Calories: 198
- Protein: 19.4g
- Fat: 12.7g
- Carbohydrates: 0g
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 creatine 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.
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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