Grass Fed VS. Natural & Organic Meats – What Does it All Mean?
Ever stand at the grocery store and wonder what grass-fed, all natural, and organic really means? What makes them superior to grain-fed meat? Are the health benefits truly worth the price difference? The weekly trip to the grocery store can be somewhat overwhelming when you are shopping for your health.
Most of what we find at the grocery store is feedlot meat. This means that the animal is given grain as their main source of food. Most of this grain is genetically modified to withstand drought and insect infestation. This type of diet encourages the animal to grow more quickly, readying them for slaughter sooner than a grass-fed animal. This is more economical for the farmer, but less beneficial for your personal health. Grain-fed animals are kept in small pens increasing their level of stress, risk of disease, and the need for antibiotics. As a result of a grain-fed diet, the meat is higher in Omega-6 fats that promote inflammation. When your body is inflamed you are more at risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and autoimmune disorders.
Contrary to feedlot animals, an animal fed an “all natural” diet fits under the grain-fed category. These animals are most likely fed grain and injected with antibiotics and hormones before slaughter. They can be classified as natural because nothing is added after slaughter, which isn’t actually very natural at all.
Animals fed an organic diet can fit under both grain-fed and the grass-fed heading. Organic simply means that whatever they are fed is organic. So, this animal can be fed, grass, grain, or a combination of both. However, they are not allowed to receive antibiotics or growth hormones.
Grass-fed animals are only fed organic grasses and leafs. The grass-fed animal has natural living conditions; which makes them less stressed. They never receive antibiotics or growth hormones, and they are allowed to graze freely. As a result their meat has more vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin C.
Why is this more desirable when it comes to choosing meat? Grass-fed animals are higher in Omega-3 fats that help fight inflammation. When you have less inflammation you have a healthier heart, healthier brain, less risk of ADHD, depression, and Alzheimer’s. It can also reduce your risk of cancer. Why do grass-fed animals have more Omega-3 fats?
The Omega-3 comes from the chloroplast found in the green part of the grass and leaves the animal eats. The chloroplast then gets stored in their fat that we in turn digest when we eat grass-fed meat.
Choosing grass-fed meats helps one balance and maintain a healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats.