Beef cattle spend the first nine months of their lives grazing on grass and nursing with their mother. It is the second half of their lives, however, that is key in the nutritional value of your hamburger. Off pasture for a year before they reach your table, the cattle begin to replace the healthy Omega-3 fats in their tissues with a less healthy variety. It is the Omega 3 fats that are critical for the health of your brain and your heart; EPA and DHA are two key types of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
In a 1993 study in The Journal of Animal Science, Duckett and colleagues found that the heart-healthy Omega-3 EPA and DHA declined by half in just one month on a grain diet. By six months on grain, that steer’s steak and burgers had virtually no Omega-3 fat.
It is important to note that even though Omega-3 fatty acids are present in the muscle of a grass fed steer, that steak is not an Omega-3 super food.
A 100 gram steak (about 3.5 ounces) from a grass fed steer has about 100 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. Check out the list below of fish and seafood highest in Omega-3s. Even the lowest has ten times more Omega-3 than the beef.
Grass fed beef does help my goal of reducing the overall ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in my diet, but it is not a replacement for a good source of fish, particularly wild fish.
If you are interested in brain-building Omega 3s, you may be interested in our brain-building Good Day Strategies series. Learn more here.
I’ve grassfed makes such a difference in how digestible beef is. I had just about stopped eating beef completely because of frequent but mild gastro pain. With grassfed beef, no issue.
There are lots of foods available in the market with DHA items. This reminds us the importance of Omega 3 in our foods. But to be honest, EPA is something new to me. I think I need to make thorough research about it and see its helpful benefits.
Thomas, I would say that those cows which are only for commercial purposes, giving milk, their milk is not so useful as those cows are grazing in rural areas..
I wonder if it was possible to give the cattle omega3 fatty acids supplements in their grain diet. That would have boost the deficiency of not having the option to graze free range.
I never thought that grain and grass could affect the omega 3 in the beef. If this scientific study is proven to be true then scientists should find a way to avoid decrease of the omega 3. And they should also find a better alternative to the grain. Anyway, thanks for the insights.
I’ve recently seen a documentary, Food.inc, and what they show there is just frightening. Most of the beef we eat comes from corn grown cows, which seriously affects their health. The documentary talked more about how a diet of corn leads to E. coli in the meat, but i’ll take a guess and say there’s no Omega-3 in there either.