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

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Possibly. What cattle eat affects the nutrients and fats in different types of beef. 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. When compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef may have some heart-health benefits. Grass-fed beef may have:

  • Lower total fat content.
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • More omega-6 fatty acid called linolenic acid.
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.

However, grass-fed beef and conventional beef, called grain-fed, both contain saturated fat. Such fat has been linked to unhealthy cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat.

When choosing beef — whether it's grass-fed beef or another type of beef — opt for lean beef. Lean beef has 10% fat or less. Grass-fed beef is generally more expensive than conventional grain-fed beef. Also, there is limited long-term research to definitively prove that grass-fed beef is better for you. Talk to your healthcare professional or dietitian if you're thinking about adding more lean beef, including grass-fed beef, into your diet.

Jan. 12, 2024 See more Expert Answers

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