If you’ve been a regular reader thus far, you know we here at The Nutrition Intuition are not shy about our love for saturated fats and full-fat products. Especially in pregnancy, it’s so important that our body (& baby) is getting the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.
Unfortunately, our food system has stripped many of the nutrient-dense products this earth provides us of the important sources of nourishment naturally contained in them in an effort to produce products cheaper and faster than what nature has intended. Organic, grass-fed red meat has heaps of vitamins and minerals that are missing in grain-fed animals, and therefore missing in our food sources.
Since we love our fats so much, why don’t we start with those?
- It “contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef.” Omega- consumption in pregnancy has proven to have positive effects on babies’ visual and cognitive development, and may eve reduce the risk of allergies in infancy.
- The composition of saturated fat in grass-fed beef is arranged in such a way that it will’ not raise blood cholesterol levels, while grain-fed beef fatty acid profile does the opposite. Without nerding out too much on you, this is because the three main types of saturated fat found in beef are proportionally different depending on whether the animal is grass-fed or grain-fed. If you need a reminder of why saturated fats are so great, take a look here.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a very good friend of ours, and found abundantly in milk and meat products. “CLA” exhibits potent antioxidant activity,” and even if you don’t know much about antioxidants, I’m sure your doctor, the Internet, or that veggie juice bottle have informed you that we do indeed need them. Antioxidants are key players in preventing chronic diseases an keeping our bodies happy and healthy. “Beef is one of the best dietary sources of CLA, and grass-fed beef contains on average of 2 to 3 times more CLA than grain-fed beef. This is because grain-based diets reduce the pH of the digestive system in ruminant animals, which inhibits the growth of the bacterium that produces CLA.”
Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants, OH MY.
- B Vitamins: There are many (eight in all), and grass-fed beef contains seven of them! Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that helps almost every system in our body function properly. Because it is so rich in Vitamin B12, grass-fed red meat is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy source of it.
- Red meat is not only a great source of vitamin D, but also contains a metabolite that speeds up the absorption of vitamin D. Since pregnancy can cause skin to be more sensitive, mothers are often instructed to stay out of the sun more during their pregnancy, which in populations living with low sun exposure already can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. However, the forms of vitamin D available in red meats have shown to be protective against the symptoms of deficiency.
- Heme iron found in red meats, as opposed to non-heme iron found in plant sources, is absorbed and used much more efficiently, and also aids in the absorption of non-heme iron. In pregnancy or pre-pregnancy, it’s crucial mothers intake iron for the growth and development of the fetal brain.
- Zinc: Unless you’re eating copious amounts of organ meats and shellfish, chances are you’re not getting enough zinc in your diet. Grass-fed red meat is one of the only other rich sources of zinc that is highly available to our bodies. Without zinc, many of the physiological functions and the regulation of gene expression could falter.
- Vitamin E and Carotenoids: These babies work together to protect our bodies in lots of ways, down to the very cell membrane that encompasses ever single cell in our systems.
So in conclusion, grass-fed red meat is great and you should eat it.
Written by Madeleine White