Grass-fed beef good choice for health

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Apr. 11, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 11, 2013
Grass-fed beef good choice for health

A review of scientific studies reveals that grass-fed beef has a healthier lipid profile, which improves the nutrition package.

Photo submitted

Most beef available in grocery stores is finished on corn, giving the cuts a courser texture, milder flavor and higher fat content than grass-fed beef.

Nutritionally, all red meat is a good source of protein, vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E and iron, zinc and selenium.

A review of scientific studies reveals that grass-fed beef has a healthier lipid profile, which improves the nutrition package. The type of saturated fat that is more detrimental to human cholesterol levels is higher in corn-fed beef than grass-fed.

A healthy diet should consist of roughly one to four times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The typical American diet contains 11 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3, a phenomenon that has been hypothesized as a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders, such as celiac disease. Certain types of omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in the prevention of atherosclerosis, heart attack, depression and cancer.

Studies have shown that cattle fed primarily grass significantly increased the omega-3 content of the meat and also produced a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than corn-fed beef.

Several local farms sell pasture raised beef:

Creeksong Farm has a variety of cuts available at the Watauga Farmers’ Market, opening May 4. For more information, visit

North Fork Farm has cuts of beef, pork and chicken available. For more information, visit

Rocking S Farm
is certified organic, located in Allegheny County. For more information, visit

Brooks Farm sells beef at the Watauga Farmers’ Market. For more information, call (828) 964-5167.

Chestnut Grove Farm
offers a variety of cuts that are sold at Bare Essentials Natural Market in Boone. For more information, visit

If you have a freezer and would like to stock up, these and other farms not listed may be willing to sell a quarter, half, a bundle or an entire cow. Contact Eddy Labus, livestock extension agent, at (828) 264-3061 for more information.

Grass-fed beef is typically tougher than corn-fed, due to the small amount of fat present and muscle development from free roaming. Cooking methods are different than beef found in the grocery store. It’s important to get a good meat thermometer to judge when cuts are done, with beef being safe as low as 140 degrees. Lowering the cooking temperature is also important.

This recipe is for tougher cuts of meat, taken from “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook” by Shannon Hayes.

Super-Slow-Roasted Beef

1 beef roast, such as London broil; top, bottom or eye of the round, or sirloin
Garlic-herb rub
(This is more than you need for one roast)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried fennel
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Rub the roast with garlic-herb rub, wrap loosely in plastic, and allow to sit in refrigerator for two hours.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place meat in a small roasting pan, insert a meat thermometer, and cook for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven as low as possible, which may be 170 degrees.
Continue until the thermometer registers 125 degrees.
The author recommends not cooking above medium rare due to the leanness of the cut.
Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The internal temperature should continue to rise to 140 degrees.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email, or call (828) 264-3061.

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