Beef offers not just vitamin B12 and other vitamins, but also zinc and other important minerals. Grass-fed beef is phenomenally superior to grain-fed beef, and it should clearly be your beef of choice. It is far more crucial to choose grass-fed than to choose the organic variety, because most grass-fed beef are also organic anyway.
Not only is grass-fed beef raised in a more humane way for the animal and a more sustainable way for the environment, but it is also the superior choice for your health.
Why Choose Grass-Fed Beef?
For starters, grass-fed beef is lower in fat than regular beef. It contains higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid. Grass-fed animals have from three to five times more CLA than their grain-fed counterparts.
CLA has been growing in popularity for its potential health and wellness benefits, including protection against cancer and diabetes, better weight management, increased metabolic rate (which promotes normal thyroid function), maintaining cholesterol and triglyceride levels already within the normal range, and support for immunity.
You should stick to grass-fed meat if you have to choose between it and certified organic meat. Most organic beef is fed organic corn, which results in an array of health concerns linked to consuming beef.
It would be ideal if you can buy organic, grass-fed meat as your protein and nutritional source. It will help you fight certain health issues, including zinc deficiency.
Get in touch with a local farmer who can verify that his products are raised on pasture and sans antibiotics and pesticides. This way, you are likely to get the absolute best meat around, where USDA-certified or not. Look for a farmers’ market or community-supported agriculture program in your locality to do this.
Again, remember that grass-fed meat does not have to be “certified” grass-fed for it to offer the health benefits.
A Word About Zinc and Zinc Supplementation
Zinc, an essential mineral, is found not just in beef, but also in liver, crimini mushrooms, spinach and sea vegetables, oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef, green peas, raw milk and cheese, and beans.
But what you need to know is that eating these types of foods on a regular basis may still not guarantee getting adequate amounts of zinc. The overprocessing of foods – and oftentimes the overcooking – hinders adequate amounts of zinc to enter your body for absorption.
Here are some zinc deficiency statistics to ponder on:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 35 to 45 percent of elderly adults in the United States are at risk for insufficiency zinc intake.
- Approximately 12 percent of Americans do not consume the recommended daily intake (RDI) for zinc, and could be at risk for deficiency.
- According to experts, as many as two billion people around the world have diets deficient in zinc.
Vegetarians should particularly be on the lookout for zinc deficiency symptoms, as zinc is found mostly in animal products. The grains they consume contain high levels of phytic acid, a compound that binds to zinc and can decrease its absorption. It is believed that zinc sources from plants are simply not well-absorbed.
Thus the bioavailability of zinc is lower in vegetarian diets than in non-vegetarian diets, because of the lack of meat in the former.
To address these factors, you may want to consider zinc supplementation. Make sure the zinc supplement is formulated by a high-quality manufacturer, with solid proof of high quality assurance safeguards and independent objective lab testing. The recommended adult upper limit is less than 40 milligrams a day. Always consult with your healthcare professional when considering higher dosages, since the potential for adverse side effects exists at these higher dosages.
Betty Linden is a health blogger whose special focus is vitamin and mineral supplementation. She herself takes a number of supplements to prevent lack of important nutrients, including zinc deficiency.