For those who enjoy eating beef, it can be difficult to navigate what the best choice of red meat is at the grocery store. Eating too much beef has been linked to a shortened lifespan as well as an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. So, how lean should it be? Does it have to be organic? Is one cut better than another? No matter how much beef you would like to be eating, studies have shown that only eating moderate amounts of beef that is at least 90 percent lean reduces your risk of developing cancer, and how your beef is raised can also have a significant impact on your health. The type of beef that always seems to rise above conventional and organic beef is grass fed beef, and for several reasons.
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Grass fed beef comes from cows who are only fed a diet of grass and other plants that they naturally forage in their native habitat. This is drastically different than conventional beef cattle who are fed diets heavy in corn feed, which is an inexpensive (and unnatural) way to "beef" them up in size before slaughter. As a result, the Mayo Clinic says that grass fed beef is not only naturally lower in fat, but it also has a higher percentage of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Not only is there an increased level of these fatty acids, but the ratio of these acids is particularly good for the body when it comes to reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels among other health benefits, according to the American Grassfed Association (AGA).
The AGA also reports that grass fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Grass fed beef is also higher in conjugated linoleic acid, which has been proven to reduce risk of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and insulin resistance.
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While many people have eliminated beef from their diet due to the associated health risks, it is possible to eat beef and reap benefits from it, but choosing grass fed beef is the best option. Not only is grass fed beef being better for your body, it actually tastes better too. You should be able to find grass fed beef easily at your grocery store, but buying it from your local farmer will likely be your most delicious option that also happens to be better for the environment and your local economy as well.
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