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Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Did you know that grass-fed beef contains six times more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than regular beef AND is lower in unhealthy saturated fats AND is 20% fewer calories? How is this possible? Grass-fed beef is a nutritional powerhouse fueled by the all natural diet that grass-fed and finished beef cattle consume when raised on pastures like those at Acabonac Farms. When comparing grain-fed and grass-fed beef, you’ll soon find that they’re completely different beasts.

Do you want to be able to enjoy delicious beef without worrying about the high calorie and fat content of traditional beef? You’re probably aware that heart disease and obesity are some of the most pressing health issues plaguing our nation today. The good news is, young Americans are already warming up to the idea of a better nutritional future with grass-fed beef.

In this article we’re breaking down the nutritional, environmental, and ethical advantages of incorporating grass-fed beef into your diet. We'll uncover how making the switch from grain-fed to grass-fed beef not only brings the taste of your meals to new heights, but also contributes significantly to your heart health, reduces your environmental footprint, and supports more humane farming practices.

What is Grass-Fed Beef?

Grass-fed beef refers to the meat from cattle that have spent their entire lives grazing on natural grass pastures, as opposed to being fed a diet of grains and other feed additives aimed at growing calves to slaughter size as rapidly as possible. At Acabonac Farms, we prioritize the natural growth rate of our animals on a species appropriate diet. This distinction is crucial, as the diet of cattle significantly influences the quality, nutritional profile, and flavor of the beef produced.

Grass-fed cattle in green pasture eating grass

What's the Difference Between Grass-Fed Beef and Regular Beef?

Grain-fed beef is the go-to form of beef in America. It’s the kind of beef you see on grocery store shelves, produced by massive meat industry conglomerates. These cattle eat a high calorie diet of grains, often accompanied by hormones, fillers, and antibiotics, in order to be fattened up as quickly and efficiently as possible. 


Grass-fed and finished beef, also referred to as 100% grass-fed and pastured beef, live a life quite different. These cattle roam freely in open pastures, grazing on a diverse diet of grasses, cloves, weeds, and other forages. This lifestyle is not only more humane and closer to their natural behaviors, but it also plays a significant role in the health and quality of the beef they produce. Read more about the difference between grain-fed and grass-fed beef.


Conventional Grain-Fed Beef Nutrition

Conventional grain-fed beef is a common choice for many consumers due to its widespread availability and often lower price point compared to grass-fed beef. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional content typically found in a 3 oz serving of grain-fed beef:

  • Calories: A 3-ounce serving of cooked, grain-fed beef can contain more than 250 calories, though this can vary depending on the cut and fat content.
  • Protein: This serving size offers approximately 20 grams of protein.
  • Fat: Grain-fed beef contains about 15-25 grams of fat per serving, with a significant portion being saturated fat. 
  • Carbohydrates: Beef is naturally low in carbohydrates, with grain-fed beef containing virtually zero grams of carbohydrates.
  • Fiber: Like all types of beef, grain-fed beef does not contain fiber.
  • Nutrients: Beef is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (particularly B12 and niacin), iron, zinc, and selenium. See the chart below to see how the levels of these nutrients vary between grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Grass-Fed Beef Nutrition

With more protein, more nutrients, and less fat, grass-fed beef has an altered nutritional content compared to grain-fed beef. Here's what you can expect from a 3 oz serving of grass-fed beef:

  • Calories: A 3-ounce serving of cooked, grass-fed beef contains fewer calories than its grain-fed counterpart, averaging around 150-200 calories.
  • Protein: Grass-fed beef provides a comparable amount of protein, with about 22 to 25 grams per 3-ounce serving.
  • Fat:Grass-fed beef is leaner, with about 10 to 15 grams of fat per serving. Importantly, it has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids and a more favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio with less saturated fats.
  • Carbohydrates: Similar to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef contains no carbohydrates.
  • Fiber: Beef does not contain fiber, regardless of the feeding method.
  • Nutrients: Notably,  grass-fed beef has a greater concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been associated with various heart health benefits. For a complete nutrient comparison see the chart below.

Nutrient Comparison

Grass-fed beef boasts higher nutrient density. The chart below shows the breakdown of nutrients in a 3 oz serving of grass-fed vs conventional grain-fed hamburger:


Nutrient

Grass-fed hamburger, raw 3 oz

% DV

Conventional hamburger, raw 3 oz

% DV

Vitamin E

0.30 mg

1%

0.15 mg

0%

Vitamin K

0.90 mcg

1%

0.38 mcg

0%

Thiamine

0.04 mg

3%

0.04 mg

3%

Riboflavin

0.11 mg

6%

0.08 mg

4%

Niacin

6.75 mg

36%

3.60 mg

19%

Vitamin B6

0.30 mg

15%

0.30 mg

15%

Folate

10.50 mcg

3%

6.00 mcg

2%

Vitamin B12

1.80 mcg

30%

0.64 mcg

10%

Iron

1.80 mg

8%

1.50 mg

7%

Magnesium

18.38 mg

4%

14.25 mg

3%

Potassium

262.50 mg

8%

147.00 mg

4%

Zinc

3.75 mg

25%

3.60 mg

24%

Selenium

12.00 mcg

17%

11.25 mcg

16%

Choline

57.00 mg

12%

47.25 mg

10%

*DV = Daily Value

Is Grass-Fed Beef Actually Healthier?

Grass-fed beef not only has a more favorable nutrient profile with higher levels of certain vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, but also offers benefits in terms of its macronutrient composition. It is lower in calories and fat compared to conventional beef, which can be beneficial for those managing their calorie intake or looking for leaner protein options. The lower fat content doesn't compromise its protein content either - grass-fed beef maintains a high level of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. Its comprehensive nutrient profile supports the perspective that grass-fed beef can be a healthier choice than grain-fed! Through sources like Acabonac Farms, you can even dodge harmful antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and additives that are usually found in grain-fed beef.


Is Grass-Fed Beef More Sustainable?

Grass-fed beef production often involves grazing practices that can improve soil health, increase carbon sequestration, and promote biodiversity. These practices can lead to healthier ecosystems and less reliance on feed crops, which in turn reduces the environmental impact of beef production.


Is Grass-Fed Beef a Superfood?

High protein, healthy fat ratio, zero carbs, and filled with nutrients that are vital for heart health and overall wellbeing - yes, grass-fed beef can be considered a superfood. It’s one of the most nutritious food options available. Looking for the superman of grass-fed beef? Take a look at grass-fed beef liver, one of the most nutrient dense meats on Earth.

Health benefits of grass-fed beef

15 Amazing Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Boasting a bounty of nutrients and health benefits, grass-fed beef is heralded not just for what it brings to the plate, but also for the practices behind its production. Let’s dive into the wealth of benefits of grass-fed beef:

1. Reduces Heart Disease Risk 

Grass-fed beef's claim to fame is its omega-3 fatty acid content. Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef may contain up to six times more omega-3s, which are vital for heart health, reducing arrhythmias and lowering blood pressure. A 2022 study in the journal of Food Science of Animal Resources validates these differences, suggesting that grass-fed beef is a more heart-friendly protein source.

2. Rich in Antioxidants to Support Overall Well-Being

This beef is loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin E and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Their role extends to enhancing energy levels and promoting general health.

3. Supports in Fighting Cancer

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), more abundant in grass-fed beef, has been linked to cancer prevention. A 2019 article in the journal Nutrients discusses how CLA's anti-carcinogenic properties may contribute to reducing the risk of tumors. Grass-fed liver is particularly powerful in this department.

4. Contains Higher Vitamins and Minerals Making It a Nutritional Powerhouse

Grass-fed beef has an impressive lineup of nutrients (as discussed in the sections and chart above), including higher levels of vitamins A and E and key minerals like potassium and iron. If you’re anemic or just looking for a great source of iron, read about grass-fed beef liver and its impressive nutritional profile.

5. Lower in Unhealthy Fats

It's not just about what grass-fed beef has, but also what it lacks. With lower levels of saturated fats, this beef aligns better with dietary guidelines aimed at reducing heart disease risk. A 2022 research study has shown that 100 grams of meat from grass-fed cattle contained 2,773 mg less total saturated fatty acids (SFA) than that from the same amount of grain-fed. 

6. Better for Weight Management and Muscle Building

High in protein and with a healthier fat profile, grass-fed beef supports muscle building and weight management. Its leaner cuts contribute to a balanced diet and help in maintaining muscle mass while managing calories. Enjoy up to 20% more protein with grass-fed beef.

7. Helps Fight Fatigue

Grass-fed beef, with its high iron and B vitamin content, serves as a powerful ally in combating fatigue. Iron plays a pivotal role in oxygen transportation throughout the body, ensuring that muscles and tissues receive the oxygen needed for energy. B vitamins, on the other hand, are key players in the metabolic processes that convert dietary energy into ATP, the currency of energy in cells. Read more about how grass-fed beef liver is one of the best defenses against fatigue.

8. Improves Immune Function, Eye Health, and Skin Vitality 

The higher vitamin A content in grass-fed beef, particularly grass-fed beef liver, is essential for the immune system. Working to regulate the function of white blood cells, vitamin A is responsible for cell repair and healing as well as proper vision. Vitamin A is also integral to the health of the skin, and according to doctors at Forbes Health “vitamin A in both topical and oral form is the most potent vitamin for skin health” and can also lead to more radiant skin by promoting development of blood vessels in the skin.

9. Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Grass-fed beef stands out for its high content of anti-inflammatory compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which play a critical role in mitigating inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to a host of health issues, including heart disease, arthritis, and susceptibility to illnesses like colds and flus. The omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed beef help balance the body's ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, contributing to reduced inflammation levels. Antioxidants, including vitamin E, further support this anti-inflammatory action by neutralizing free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells. 

10. Contains Less Bacteria

Some research suggests that grass-fed beef may contain fewer harmful bacteria than grain-fed beef, which could translate to a lower risk of foodborne illnesses. A 2015 study tested 300 packages of ground beef and found that 18% of the grain-fed samples contained "superbugs" -- bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics. 

11. Helps with Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Packed with essential electrolytes, grass-fed beef aids in hydration and maintaining proper electrolyte balance, which is vital for muscle function and overall health. Potassium is critically low in modern diets, while sodium is found in excess. Grass-fed beef boasts over 500 mg of potassium for a 6 oz serving, making it a great source of this important electrolyte. 

12. More Environmentally Friendly

Grass-fed beef from suppliers like Acabonac Farms use sustainable grazing and farming practices, offering a greener alternative to conventional beef production. Practices like regenerative farming enhance soil health by promoting the growth of diverse plant species, which in turn improves the soil’s structure and fertility. Healthy soils are more effective at storing water and carbon dioxide, contributing to carbon sequestration efforts that combat climate change. Unlike intensive farming methods that can lead to monocultures, grass-fed beef production encourages a variety of plant and animal species to thrive, creating more resilient ecosystems. 

In addition, grass-fed beef production often uses less feed, water, and energy compared to conventional beef production methods. By reducing the demand for crop-based feed, grass-fed beef production minimizes its environmental footprint.

13. Supports Humane Farming Practices

Grass-fed beef is typically sourced from farms that emphasize humane farming practices, focusing on the well-being of the cattle. At Acabonac Farms, cattle can roam freely in their natural habitat, graze on a diet of grass and other wild forage, and engage in natural behaviors, which significantly reduces stress levels among the animals.

14. Superior Taste and Texture

Many connoisseurs swear by the distinct, richer flavor and firmer texture of grass-fed beef, which is often described as tasting "cleaner" than grain-fed beef, with more even and dispersed marbling. With the right tenderizing methods, the lower fat content doesn’t take away from the tender texture you’re after either. More importantly, grass-fed beef carries with it distinct flavors from the region where the cattle were raised. This unlocks a whole new world of taste to beef for those looking for something different than the average grocery store options.

15. Supports Pet Health and Well-being

When it comes to nutrition, we want the best for ourselves and our family - that includes our pets.  Grass-fed beef offers amuch more nutrient-rich meal for our furry friends. Grass-fed pet food supports healthier coats, teeth, and immune systems. Its high omega-3 content can help reduce inflammation, improving joint health and mobility in pets of older age. Additionally, because grass-fed beef typically lacks added hormones and antibiotics, it provides a cleaner, healthier meat option for pets.

Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef has rightly earned its place as one of the most nutritious foods available. Its impressive growth in popularity is all thanks to its numerous health benefits, including a richer nutrient profile with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, as well as its lower calorie and fat content compared to conventional beef. It goes beyond that though. Choosing grass-fed beef supports humane farming practices and contributes to environmental sustainability for a better future of food.


If you’re looking to make a healthier, more ethical choice, 100% grass-fed beef from Acabonac Farms can be your go-to source for the cleanest, most nutritious and delicious beef in the country. Our commitment to ethical farming practices and environmental stewardship is at the foundation of everything we do. We ensure that our animals are raised in stress-free environments, allowed to graze freely and live naturally, rewarding us with healthier and more flavorful beef. 


Our premium grass-fed beef can be ordered online directly from our website, with options for regular scheduled delivery of high-quality beef right to your front door. Secure wholesale prices on the highest quality beef with bulk purchasing options or save by purchasing delicious beef bundles! Choose from our wide variety of products, from premium steak cuts perfect for special occasions, to versatile ground beef and burgers ideal for everyday cooking - we’ve got what you’re after.  

Nutrient rich grass-fed beef raw

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