The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

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I believe in beef as part of the recovery process. Maybe you’ve heard that grass-fed beef is better for you, but haven’t done any research into it further. Maybe you know some of the benefits, but need a little push to give it a try. I, too had heard that grass-fed beef had a better nutritional profile and was better for athletes. But with my monthly groceries already topping the $500 mark, I held off on making the switch. I’ve started to eat a lot more beef lately, as the volume of my training has gone up, and I’ve seen some massive strength gains. Then I figured if beef was really going to be such an asset to my training, would higher quality beef have an even greater effect?

So I started to do my own research on grass-fed beef, and this is what I’ve found:

  • Most grass-fed beef cuts have 2-4 times more Omega 3 fatty acids than conventional grain-fed beef.¹ From previous discussions on fish oil, we know how important Omega 3’s are to joint health and overall recovery. In addition, there is a better ratio of Omega 3 (the good guys) to Omega 6 fatty acids (the bad guys).
  • Grass-fed beef contains more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), a compound that has been shown to promote fat loss and muscle gain in athletes²
  • Grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, Vitamin E, B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium.³

If you’ve been a reader of this website, you know that I don’t really promote a certain diet, nor do I like telling people to not eat a certain food. Instead, I’m a big believer in getting the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck, so to speak. Grass-fed beef aligns well with this philosophy, as you’re getting more of the most important essential and non-essential nutrient and micronutrients.

Think of it this way: you know that eating a clean, balanced diet is better for your athletic performance and your body, right? It’s the same way for the cows that will become your dinner. Grass is a better, more natural diet for them that keeps them healthier. It only makes sense that, as someone seeking the ultimate performance of your body, you’d want to consume meat from the healthiest animals, right?

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that grass-fed beef is expensive, and when you’re already spending more money to eat clean(ish), it can be out of reach. Start small. Replace one conventional beef cut per week with grass-fed beef. Slowly increase this as your budget allows. Talk to local cattle ranchers (the main suppliers of grass-fed beef) and see about bulk discounts. Split a bulk order with some other athletes at your gym or with family members to keep the prices down. Or, look into CSA-type programs that ship to your home or Crossfit affiliates with affordable, quality packages.

Any way you slice it, grass-fed beef is definitely a better choice for athletes. I believe it will make a difference in your athletic performance, and I can’t wait to see the improvements it is going to help me make. I’m starting to make the switch, and will keep you updated as I start to see results. Check back next week for a new recipe featuring Bos Creek Grass-Fed Beef.

**Just keeping it real: This post was sponsored by the great guys over at Bos Creek. While I’ve been compensated for my efforts, all the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and were not influenced by them either way. I’m committed to only working with companies whose values align with my own and the mission of this site, which is to help athletes recover and perform better through superior nutrition.

¹”Summary of Important Health Benefits of Grassfed Meats, Eggs and Dairy” EatWild.com; <http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm>

² “CLA” Nutros.com; <http://www.nutros.net/nsr-0202l.html>

³S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.

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