Australian beef is recognised as among the safest in the world with stringent control systems guaranteeing quality since the 1990s, but is grain-fed beef nutritious?
In Australia, cattle are predominantly grass fed and spend a short duration in feedlots. Nutritionally, grain-fed beef is a great source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
Grain-fed beef is the main type of meat served in high end restaurants due to its higher consistency of supply and quality. The majority of higher quality cuts come from grain-fed cattle, with deeper and more widespread marbling becoming more popular with consumers.
The deposition of intramuscular fat, known commonly as marbling, gives grain-fed beef superior tenderness, juiciness and flavour over other red meat proteins. This sets Australian grain-fed beef apart from its grass-fed counterparts, as grain rations can be created to promote intramuscular fat deposition and provide a more nutritious diet for cattle than grass can.
Grain-fed beef contains 12 essential nutrients important for brain and muscle development and function, immunity and energy.
Let’s look at a breakdown of its essential nutrients….
Low in trans fats and sodium
Trans fats are found naturally in meat and dairy products from ‘ruminant’ animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats. They form naturally when bacteria in these animals’ stomachs digest grass. Unlike plant-based fake meats, which contain various additives and are highly processed, naturally occurring ruminant trans fats are not considered unhealthy.
Red meat is low in sodium, has no artificial flavours or preservatives, is gluten free and naturally packed with essential nutrients.
Loaded with vitamins for blood health
Grain-fed beef is a good source of Vitamin B12, – an essential nutrient that is important for blood formation, your brain and nervous system, Vitamin B3 – otherwise known as Niacin, helps lower cholesterol, ease arthritis, and boost brain function, and Vitamin B6 – aids blood formation and energy metabolism.
Another important nutrient in grain-fed beef is Haem Iron – the most bioavailable form of iron. Iron is used by the body to carry oxygen in the blood and is essential for growth and brain function, wellbeing and immunity.
Red meat has more iron than both poultry and fish, and it is better absorbed by the body than plant foods such as spinach. Iron-rich foods such as grain-fed beef are recommended from 6 months of age because getting the right amount of iron is important for growth and development.
Having red meat three to four times a week makes it easier for young women to meet their iron needs – which are twice that of men!
Rich in minerals for body growth and maintenance
Minerals are essential for our health, and grain-fed beef is rich in Zinc. According to the NHRMC’s Nutrient Reference Values, zinc is a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting a healthy immune system.
Grain-fed beef also includes Selenium – a nutrient that is critical in maintaining metabolism and thyroid functions.
It’s packed with protein
Grain-fed beef is a great source of an essential macronutrient: protein.
According to a study by the University of Wollongong, 100g of cooked red meat contains 28- 36g of protein. The protein is highly digestible, around 94% compared to the digestibility of 78% in beans and 86% in whole wheat. Protein from grain fed beef is also packed with essential amino acids.
So, how much should you eat?
Australians are recommended to eat red meat three to four times a week in balanced meals to provide enough iron recommended for good health.
If you’re following the recommended daily intake of red meat, lean grain fed beef is a healthy source of nutrition packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for our bodies. Tender, juicy and available all year round, grain fed beef is a nutritious part of the everyday Aussie’s diet.
The variety of choices that consumers have available means there’s beef for every palate, budget and occasion.