Cooking to Control Pain: Eat Your Grass-Fed Meat

Health Professional

From a very young age onward, everyone hears things like drink your milk and eat your vegetables. However, you never hear anyone saying, "Eat your meat" because no one needs encouragement to eat a nice juicy steak or big delicious hamburger. Americans love their beef. But are Americans eating the right type of beef for their health? If you have osteoarthritis, you'll want to be sure to eat grass-fed beef. Before we get into the health benefits of beef that has not been fed corn, let's take a little peek into the life of a cow.

A little calf is born all cute and fuzzy. At first, it starts getting its nutrients from mamma's milk. Soon, it will begin to eat the grass or flake that Mr. Rancher provides. Once that baby grows into a 700 pound beast, it is shipped to the feed lots. At the feed lot with thousands of other cows, a cow gorges on corn feed. Here the cow puts on three pounds per day. When that cow hits the 1,200 pound mark, it is ready for slaughter. Time is of the essence because a cow that is too old is not gradable beyond hamburger meat. And that is the short story about the life of the cow that supplies your steaks, tri-tips and brisket.1

Now back to your health" what's wrong with cows fattened on corn? Plenty, but when it comes to your painful joints, you should be most concerned with the types of fatty acids found in that hunk of meat. A corn-fed cow will have more omega-6 and less omega-3 fatty acids as compared to a grass-fed cow. Scientists have shown that grass-based diets enhance the amount of omega-3 building blocks in beef2 and believe that grass-fed beef is less likely to increase cholesterol numbers. In a study analyzing the results of eating only grass-fed beef, researchers discovered higher amount of healthy fats in human who ate grass-fed beef.3 Not only are we influenced by what we eat, we are also influenced by what the cow eats too.

The reason why fat content and quality is so important for those who have inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis is that the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 consumed greatly impacts how well the body can control inflammation.  A diet balanced in omegas 3 and 6 reduces the incidence of inflammatory diseases.4 Since grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3, the fatty acid we are usually lacking in our diets, a good juicy steak from a grass-fed cow can help you control pain and inflammation. Besides, you don't want to eat and smell like fish oil all the time.

You can make many substitutions in your diet to help control pain and inflammation. Grass-fed instead of corn-fed beef is just one change worth making. So eat your vegetables, your fruit, and your grass-fed meat.

  1. Girl Hunter; Pellegrini, G.; Da Capo Press (2011)
  2. Nutr J. 2010 Mar 10;9:10
  3. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jan;105(1):80-9
  4. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:539426.