Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't?

Answers from Rekha Mankad, M.D.

Grass-fed beef generally comes from cattle that eat only grass and other foraged foods throughout their lives. Often, conventional beef cattle eat a diet that includes grains, such as corn, at some point. The difference in the diets of the cattle changes the nutrients and fats you get from eating the different types of beef.

Grass-fed beef may have some heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't have. When compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef may have:

  • Less total fat
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that's thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E

Lean beef that's 10 percent fat or less — whether it's grass-fed beef or another type of beef — can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Although many people think grass-fed beef tastes better, it's generally more expensive and there is limited long-term research to definitively prove that grass-fed beef is better for you. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you're thinking about adding more lean beef, including grass-fed beef, into your diet.


Rekha Mankad, M.D.

Dec. 27, 2014