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 (linolenic acid)
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E

However, grass-fed beef has more saturated fat and trans fats than conventional beef. Such fats have 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 (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 doctor or dietitian if you're thinking about adding more lean beef, including grass-fed beef, into your diet.

April 29, 2021 See more Expert Answers

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