Pasture Prime: The Benefits of Grass Fed Beef

TS-101747859 Grilling Beef475

I love good-quality beef, particularly grass fed beef. In fact, when I think of typical American food, I think of steaks, hamburgers, roast beef and more. In the Philippines, where diets consist mostly of fish, pork and chicken, I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where we had access to beef. As a child, hamburgers and steaks were among my favorite foods. As I got older, I began to limit how much and how often I ate beef. Today, I restrict my meat eating to grass-fed, organic beef.

Besides being delicious and versatile, beef is a powerhouse of FoodTrients. It’s a nutrient dense food, which means you don’t have to eat much of it to receive plenty of benefits. Just 3 ounces of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet, yet it supplies ten percent or more of the Daily Value for nine essential nutrients:

Protein 50% Builds muscle and repairs tissues

Zinc 39% Strengthens the immune system and heals wounds

B12 37% Along with niacin, B6 and riboflavin, helps release energy from food

Selenium 24% For thyroid gland function and helps protect against free radical damage and cancer

Phosphorous 20% Vital for strong bones and teeth

Niacin 18% Part of the B complex that helps the body use energy from food

B6 16% Part of the B complex that helps the body use energy from food

Iron 14% Helps carry oxygen in the blood to the cells

Riboflavin 12% Part of the B complex that helps the body use energy from food

TS-515267466 Raw Burgers

Beef has had a little bit of a bad reputation for a few reasons. First, most Americans eat too much of it. On average, American men consume 6.9 oz. of meat and women 4.4 oz. per day—that’s close to 65 pounds per year! Second, most commercial beef is grain fed to develop marbling, which makes it juicy and flavorful. However, the marbling is high in saturated fat, which can raise bad cholesterol levels and clog arteries, leading to heart disease. Finally, the grain-based diet, which most commercially raised beef receives is not natural for cattle and changes the nutritional profile of the meat, reducing the level of important nutrients.

To receive the full benefits of beef, I buy grass fed whenever possible. Pasture raised cattle forage at will in open pastures and eat grasses. Their meat is also free from growth hormones and antibiotics. This type of beef is different nutritionally from conventional beef because of the difference in diet and contains:

  • Half as much fat
  • Twice as much omega-3 fatty acids
  • More conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E

Grain fed beef contains one quarter as much vitamin E and a fraction of the beta carotene of grass fed. Cattle fed on pasture grasses contain more omega-3 content by up to 60 percent. Also plentiful in fish like salmon and mackerel, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent chronic illnesses like heart disease. A high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to the development of disease. The fat in grass-fed cattle has a more favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 than that of grain-fed cattle. Switching livestock from their natural diet of grass to large amounts of grain is one of the reasons our modern diet is deficient in these essential fats.

If you think about it, It makes a lot of sense to eat beef raised on what cattle would eat naturally rather than what they’re fed on a factory farm like grain, supplements and other additives. By working with nature and promoting what is biologically and behaviorally right for that animal, it’s better for the animal, better for the environment and better for us.

You can find grass fed beef at most markets including Costco, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Markets and most any store with an emphasis on natural products. There are also grass fed beef growers from whom you can order online including, Eel River Organic Grass Fed Beef, Adelaida Springs Ranch and Alderspring Ranch.

For a show stopping main course, try this recipe from my just published book, The Age Beautifully Cookbook.

Beef on a Salt Block

steak on salt block crop

Pink salt blocks from the Himalayas contain minerals that help balance the effects of sodium. You can purchase Himalayan salt blocks from kitchen and specialty food stores, and online.

For this recipe, you heat the salt block and use it as a cooking surface. I like to set the heated block on the table (on top of a trivet or a heat resistant surface) and have everyone cook their own meat the way they like it.

TS-528065347 Salt Block close-up

Serves 6-8


2 lb. thinly sliced London broil or other tender cut of beef
For the sauce:
2 cups Merlot or other red wine
½ cup dried cherries, cranberries raisins or combination


  1. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F
  2. Heat the salt block in the oven for 1 hour
  3. Make the reduction sauce: simmer the wine and dried fruit over low heat for 45 minutes or until thick
  4. Remove the salt block from the oven and set it on a heat resistant counter or trivet
  5. Sear the beef on the salt block till desired doneness: 20-30 seconds per side for rare; 1 minute per side for medium; 2-3 minutes per side for well-done.
  6. Remove the meat to plates and douse with the fruit-Merlot reduction.

About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that.
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.