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Grass-fed beef fights cancer, study finds

Several studies suggest that eating grass-fed beef elevates precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase, compared with eating beef from grain-fed animals, says a research review published in the current issue of Nutrition Journal.

The review, written by three Chico State professors and UC Cooperative Extension livestock advisors Glenn Nader and Stephanie Larson, reported that grass-fed beef has an overall lower fat content.

"However, consumers should be aware that the differences in (fatty acid) content will also give grass-fed beef a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities," the researchers wrote.

In addition, the fat from grass-finished beef may have a yellowish appearance from the elevated carotenoid content (precursor to Vitamin A).

The research prompted San Francisco Examiner blogger Joshua Horrocks to ponder whether grass-fed beef is the key to cancer prevention. He noted that, in addition to grass-fed beef's higher levels of antioxidants, it has lower concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs have been linked to a higher mortality rate for women.

The researchers have developed a Grass-Fed Beef Web page with information on the product's health benefits, niche marketing, labeling, cost of production and more.

The Grass-Fed Beef Web site.
The Grass-Fed Beef Web site.

Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 10:02 AM

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