Why Grass Fed is Best
Do you know why grass fed is best?
Do you know what grass fed and grass finished really mean?
Most people equate grass fed with animals being raised on pasture, and don't make a distinction for those finished on grass alone, and those finished with grain supplements.
Grass fed means the meat (or dairy) animal is fed mostly grass or hay throughout the majority of its life. However, "grass fed" can mean these animals are supplemented with grain, especially to "finish" them, or get them fattened up for butchering. Be sure to ask your local farmer if he is finishing with grain.
Grass finished, on the other hand, means the animal is never given anything but grass and only hay during the winter for a short time. This gives the meat the healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2 to 1. Grain finished animals have ratios of more like 20 to 1. That's another reason why grass fed meat is so much healthier.
Note: Some animals, like cattle and sheep, need only grass to thrive. Others, like chickens and pigs, are best being raised on pasture, but must be supplemented with grain. When you purchase meats from these animals, try to find out if these supplements are soy free organic feed (what we supplement with), the healthiest choice for them--and for you.
Health Benefits and Research
Research shows why grass fed and grass finished animals have lots of nutritional benefits - for the animals and for us. Animals finished entirely on grass have the healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of 2 to 1 or better, and are naturally higher in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and long-chain omega-3 than animals finished on grain.
CLA researcher Dr. Tilak Dhiman has found the following benefits of grass fed products:
- 500% more CLA
- 400% more Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a cancer fighter and is linked to both good vision and good sex. It is also necessary for bone development and the prevention of skin disorders.
- 300% more Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that lowers the risk of both heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants are also considered to be “anti-aging” agents that help your body resist the negative impact of oxidation.
- 75% more Omega-3. Omega-3 is a potent anti-cancer agent and is essential for a sharp, well-functioning brain. It also reduces blood pressure and lowers heart attack risk. For good health a 2-to-1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is recommended. The diet of most Americans is currently estimated to be 20-1.
- 78% more beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and can help lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
CLA is an essential fatty acid with some pretty amazing properties. Animals studies suggest that it:
- Is anti-carcinogenic
- Helps prevent obesity
- Is anti-diabetic
- Helps prevent atherosclerosis (heart disease)
- Increases immunity
- Increases bone density
- Suppresses the growth of cancer cells
This is why we must think
The Small, Sustainable Farm Advantage
At Page River Bottom Farm we have the blessing of irrigated pasture and winter rains. With our farmland now returned to sustainable pasture, we can finish our animals on it all year round.
This gives us:
- Healthier animals
- Healthier people
- Healthier pasture and, thus healthier environment for us and our animals
Those are just a few of the reasons why grass fed and grass finished products are best.
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