Maybe you’re a streak house regular, a true beef connoisseur—or maybe your experience with beef doesn’t extend too far past the occasional burger and fries. Either way, you’ve probably heard of grass-fed beef, and you probably know that it’s supposed to be better for your health—but is it really?
The Cow’s Health—And Yours
One thing is sure: Being grass-fed is certainly better for the cow. Grass is the natural diet of cattle, and eating it helps them to stay healthy and disease-free. In today’s more corporate and industrial ranches, though, it’s sometimes more cost-effective to provide cows not with grass but with special feed that makes them big and fat but also puts them at a heightened risk for disease.
To compensate for this, cows are often fed low-dose antibiotics. This has a couple of implications for humans. One is that when you consume this beef, you’re also consuming some of those antibiotics—which can effectively make antibiotics less effective in keeping you healthy and disease-free. Conversely, though, cows with antibiotics are still more likely to carry bacteria than the ones that are simply fed grass.
And What About Growth Hormones?
Non-grass-fed cattle aren’t just loaded up with antibiotics, though. They’re also fed steady diets of growth hormones. So that’s something else you’re consuming when you eat this beef. The question to ask here is, do you really want your children to consume growth hormones? There is speculation that today’s children are entering puberty earlier than the children from eras past. Could the growth hormones in our food be to blame? And is that really something you want for your kids?
Can Beef Ever Be Healthy?
Of course, if you’re eating a big slab of red meat every single meal of every single day, that comes with some health concerns of its own—regardless of the quality of that beef. Moderation is key. Implicit in that moderation, though, is a commitment to making smart choices every day—and one of those choices might be to become a little choosier about the beef you consume.
There are various ways to ensure that your beef intake is antibiotic- and hormone-free. It starts at the grocery store, of course, where your decision to purchase grass-fed beef goes a long way toward promoting a healthier culture of beef production. When you go out to eat, meanwhile, you can always do a little Internet research to find out if the restaurant or burger joint of your choosing uses grass-fed beef products.
Making the switch to grass-fed beef is a concrete thing you can do to protect your health—and, the health of your entire family.