Better Beef: Grass-Fed Cattle

Grass-fed meat offers richer flavor and more nutrition.


| October/November 2005



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Grass-finished beef is a hallmark of the Oswald Cattle Company, based at the foot of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in Cotopaxi, Colo.


Photo courtesy Oswald Cattle Co.

Beef from a cow raised on pasture is even healthier for you than a chicken breast — the white meat that health authorities are so quick to recommend.

That may be hard to believe, but it’s true, says Jo Robinson, grass-fed expert and author of the book Pasture Perfect.

The best place to start in describing the health benefits of grass-fed beef is with the meat’s leanness. Grass-fed beef is one-third to three times leaner than grain-fed beef, and as a consequence has fewer calories, too — a 6-ounce beef loin from a grass-fed cow can have 92 fewer calories than a 6-ounce loin from a grain-fed cow.

Grass-fed beef also provides two to four times more essential omega-3 fatty acids than feedlot beef. These omega-3s help protect humans from cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, dementia, high-blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Also in grass-fed products, omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids are in balance, which provides critical protection from heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers have found grass-fed beef contains two newly discovered “good” fats: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid (TVA). (Our bodies turn TVA into CLA.)

CLA shows great promise in lab animal studies of helping fight cancers and cardiovascular disease. When cattle are raised exclusively on grass, their meat and dairy products offer two to five times more CLA than cattle raised on large amounts of grain.

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7/9/2014 6:33:19 AM

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