To err is human…
Some people are fortunate to live in places where the cows still graze in great rolling pastures. The cows, whether they’re grazing or lying in the grass ruminating, look stupid, healthy and placid, the way cows are supposed to look.
…To forgive, bovine
On the other hand, we know that millions of cows are crammed on feed lots and munch from troughs filled with cracked corn, soybean and other grains. Corn, grains and soybeans are cheap and plentiful, but they’re not good for cattle because their digestive systems haven’t evolve to digest the stuff. This, plus the overcrowding in the lots, leave the cows looking stupid and stressed. But is there a difference in their meat?
There is actually a difference in the beef of cattle that have been grass-fed and those that are fed on grain. By the way, grass-fed means a cow that’s fed grass throughout its admittedly short life and isn’t even “finished” on corn or other grains.
So what’s the beef?
The meat of grass-fed cattle is leaner than those fed on grains. There’s less marbling. People who love steak adore marbling because it makes the meat tender and juicy, but it’s not always as good for a person depending on their needs.
The meat of grass fed cattle is also higher in the good types of fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are famous for helping to remove cholesterol from the arteries, which means that they’re important in the health of the heart. The meat also has more linoleic acid, another type of fatty acid that helps with the cardiovascular system and is believed to lower the risk for certain types of cancer. Grass-fed beef also has more antioxidants like Vitamin E. These are substances that neutralize ravenous free radical molecules. These molecules are oxygen molecules that have an unpaired electron and will do anything to steal another electron. They will even steal electrons from your DNA and damage it. An antioxidant happily gives away one of its electrons to a free radical, which makes it less dangerous.
Grass-fed beef also has fewer pathogens like e. coli bacteria. Grain creates a cozy environment for them in the bovine gut, and grass doesn’t.
So go ahead and enjoy your grass-fed steak! I know I will 🙂
And while you’re at it, check out these marvelous meaty recipes: Beef Brilliance