Omega 3 fatty acids are called “essential” because our bodies cannot produce them on their own. We must obtain these polyunsaturated fats from the food we eat. Insufficient consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can lead to serious health problems.
Beef cattle raised using regenerative agriculture practices have higher levels of essential omega 3 fatty acids in their meat than grain-fed beef. At Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, we are proud of the sustainable way our cattle are raised and the health benefits provided by grass fed management.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories. Inflammation plays a role in many diseases, and chronic inflammation is associated with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, and other conditions. Omega 3 fatty acids slow down the production of the inflammatory response.
There are three main types of omega 3 fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA)
It is primarily ALA, prevalent in grasses, that provides omega 3 fatty acids to grass fed beef. DHA, perhaps the most critical of the omega 3 fatty acids, is also found in meat and dairy products from grass raised cattle. DHA is a key component of the brain and retina. EPA is found mainly in fatty fish.
Telltale signs of too few omega 3 fatty acids in the diet include skin-related issues. Symptoms include rough, scaly skin and rashes.
Omega 3 fatty acids can help those suffering from:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Dry eyes
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
It is possible that omega 3 fatty acids can lower the risk of developing certain cancers, including those of the breast and colon.
Heart Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Grass fed beef offers heart health benefits that grain fed beef does not. Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. Because omega 3 fatty acids help keep blood platelets from clumping, there is less risk of clotting or embolism. These nutrients help keep plaque from clogging the arteries, leading to what was once termed “hardening of the arteries.”
Cattle are what they eat, and when their diet consists entirely of grass and forage, their meat reflects that. The heart health benefits that grass fed beef may provide include:
- Less fat
- More omega 3 fatty acids
- More antioxidants, such as vitamin E
Grass fed beef does contain more saturated fat than grain fed beef, which may lead to higher cholesterol levels. Always choose beef with 10 percent or less fat.
Grain Destroys Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In contrast, feeding grain to cattle diminishes the amount of omega 3 fatty acids considerably. All cattle are raised on grass during their earliest months. Cattle sent to feedlots to fatten on a grain fed diet lose about half their omega 3 fatty acids in about one month. If these cattle remain on grain for six months, their meat will contain virtually no omega 3 fatty acids.
A recent study from Newcastle University compared grain fed and “organic” sirloin steaks purchased from a supermarket in July 2019 to grass fed beef raised using regenerative agricultural principles. Results confirmed that feeding grain to cattle produced less omega-3 fatty acids in the meat. It also produced more of the less desirable omega-6 fatty acids. “The ratio of the omega-6 to omega-3 is also much poorer for grain-fed beef at 7:1 compared to a healthier 2:1 for beef from 100 percent pasture-fed cattle,” according to the study.
The study concludes that the necessary omega 3 fatty acids of which humans should increase consumption are found in much higher concentrations in 100% grass fed beef.
Order Your 100% Grass Fed Beef at Our Online Store
When you order 100% grass finished beef from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, you receive the healthiest beef available. Along with a grass diet, these cattle never received antibiotics or growth hormones. Enjoy delicious meals packed with nutrients and dense with essential omega 3 fatty acids.