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Grass-Fed Beef Is Healthy Beef

June 10, 2019

Pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle are happy cattle, and that makes an important difference in the meat that ends up on your plate. It translates to beef that’s healthier for you than conventionally raised beef. We’ve put together a rundown of some of those nutritional advantages below.

But first, a little background. On our pastures, Kunoa cattle spend their entire lives grazing on a diverse diet of grasses, forbs, shrubs, and even trees. It’s their natural diet, and with Hawaii’s subtropical climate, they have access to healthy, high-quality food all year round. Conventionally raised cattle do spend part of their lives on pastures, but they typically spend the last several months of life in confined feeding operations gaining weight on a diet of grains, which is not their natural diet. Those last few months make a difference in the nutrient profile of the final product.

Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

First off, beef, no matter how it is raised, is loaded with nutrients. It is an important source of essential amino acids; vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E; and minerals, including iron, zinc and selenium. The fats in beef provide energy and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Here are some of the differences between grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and conventional:

More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
When compared to conventional beef, grass-fed beef contains about the same amount of omega-6 fatty acids but significantly more omega-3 fatty acids. Diets that lean too heavily on omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in the body. Adding more omega-3s may improve cardiovascular health and help fight dementia and arthritis.

More conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Grass-fed beef contains about twice as much CLA as conventional beef. CLA is a type of healthy fat that’s associated with reduced heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risks.

More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins E and A
Have you ever noticed that the fat on grass-fed beef is yellow instead of the whiter fat on conventional beef? That color comes from higher levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, an antioxidant. Antioxidants help to slow down processes that damage cells and cause illnesses.

No added hormones or antibiotics, ever
Raising our cattle on open pastures instead of in crowded feedlots ensures they grow naturally as nature intended and are less likely to get sick. This means our meats are free of added hormones and antibiotics. Quite simply, our cattle don’t need them. Read more about our policy here.

Health Benefits Beyond the Body

Grass-fed, pasture-raised beef is healthy in other important ways that impact our land and community. The regenerative grazing methods we use help improve Hawaii’s soil, reduce runoff, and provide habitat for wildlife. And by working with partner ranches to keep Hawaii’s cattle in Hawaii, we are fostering a healthy ranching community throughout the state, as well as contributing to Hawaii’s goal of doubling local food production by 2030.