A new study, Greener Pastures: How Grass-fed Beef and Milk Contribute to Healthy Eating, finds that beef and milk from animals raised entirely on pasture have higher levels than conventionally raised beef and dairy cattle of beneficial fats that may prevent heart disease and strengthen the immune system.
The report found that grass-fed beef and milk contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the so-called beneficial fats. Grass-fed milk tends to be higher in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid that scientists have demonstrated reduces the risk of heart disease. Both grass-fed milk and ground beef are also higher in CLA, a fatty acid shown in animal studies to protect against cancer. While the levels found are relatively small on a per serving basis, they may be beneficial and merit further research.
The study synthesizes findings of 25 studies comparing the amounts of total fats, saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid in both pasture-raised and conventionally raised beef and dairy cattle. The report also combines analyses on the nutrition, environmental, and public health benefits of grass-based farming techniques.