We often hear nowadays that grass fed food products are premium produces.
But very few of us are aware of the unique qualities of grass fed foodstuffs. These products are costly enough and not always available easily. But before you buy them don’t you think that you have all the rights to know about the reason that make these products a life style choice products?
Obviously you do, and let’s start from here.
What is meant by grass fed?
Grass fed is a unique product category. It is applicable for meat and dairy products mainly. The category is decided on the diet of the animals. Be it is grass fed beef or grass fed ghee, the animals are fed with grass round the year and they are raised on green pasture with ample freedom and not in captivity. It is scientifically proven that nutrients available from natural grasses can improve the quality of meat as well as quality of cow milk.
Dairy products produced from grass fed cow milk are more nutrient packed that grain fed cows’ milk. It is globally observed that grass fed animal products contain lower levels of fat and higher volume of antioxidants and vitamins: grass fed cow milk is no exception to this rule.
However, there is a marked difference between grass fed animal products and organic products. Certified organic animal products help in lowering the risk of adulterated feed by barring the use of hazardous pesticides. They also typically have a higher nutrient count and nutrient quality because of the variances in organic ground cover.
But organic certification does not promise a natural lifestyle or specific diet for the animals involved in the process of farming. Concurrently, not all grass fed animals are raised on organic farms, which means all grass fed products are not necessarily organic products.
The Scope of Grass Feeding
When we talk about the typical grass feeding arrangement of cattle, we are mentioning a group of animals named ruminants. These are some specific animals that usually graze and browse, which means that these animals mostly eat grasses and whatsoever twigs and leaves they get in access in a pasture setting.
The quality of life and overall health of pasture raised cattle largely depends on the free access to pasture, fresh air, and a superior-quality diet of greens. Beef cattle and dairy cows consists the major percentage of the ruminant population, but bison, sheep, and goats are also included.
The benefits of grass fed food:
- Diet: All grass fed animals are only raised in natural grass pastures.
- Treatment: Animals are free to browse, rather than staying captivated in restricted living spaces.
- Antibiotics and hormones: All grass fed meats and dairy products are guaranteed antibiotic and growth hormone free.
- Origin: All animals are born and maintained in family farms maintaining grooming quality and stringent dietary standard.
The Essentials of a Grass Fed Animal diet
According to the New Zealand dairy industry convention, grass fed animals may eat:
- Both annual and perennial diversities of grass.
- Forbs, which talk about the herbaceous flowering plants, for example legumes and brassica.
- By browsing they can get to eat leaves and twigs.
- Certain cereal grain crops are added to diet but only while they put in their pre-grain, vegetative state
- Silage, which means the special grass and other greens which have been harvested, stored in an airtight container without drying, and fermented for cattle feed.
- Crop residue short of grain, and other fiber sources
- Grass fed animals may also obtain routine vitamin and mineral supplementation.
The difference between ‘grass-fed,’ ‘100% grass-fed’ and ‘Certified Grass-Fed Organic’ products?
Often you see “grass-fed” label on dairy products’ packages in the store, it is clearly stated that that some of the animals’ diet are collected from the fresh pasture or dried grasses like hay. In addition, all certified organic cows are mostly grass-fed in a common sense because the National Organic Program demands organic cows to receive at least 30% of their diet come from pasture throughout the grazing season.
Recently, a new Certified Grass-Fed Organic Livestock Program has been introduced in early 2019, which is supposed to go a long way toward clearing up the discrepancies so that consumers can remain confident about the true meaning of the word “grass-fed” when seen on an organic product.
Until the Certified Grass-Fed Organic Dairy seal begins showing up on organic milk later in 2019, when you see “100% grass-fed” on some dairy products like ghee, cheese, or yogurt, you can trust that it indicates that all of the cow’s nutrition has come from fresh grasses, dried and stored forages, and a small amount of supplements like molasses. This is applicable for the year-round diet, regardless it is the summer or winter season.
Is “grass-fed” means the same as “pasture-raised”?
In general, “Pasture-raised” describes a complete values of ethical dairy farming, which includes free raising animals without captivity on pasture, where they get to enjoy fresh air and olive sunshine and can display regular cow behaviors, which embraces eating pasture grasses. “Pasture-raised” also includes the high standards for humane right animal care and offering cattle good living conditions.
In comparison to pasture raised, “grass-fed” simply defines what the cows eat or about their diet. All the cows are “grass-fed” in the broad sense as certified organic cows are supposed to get a share of their diet from pasture, but only few of them are “100% grass-fed”, as their complete diet comes from green pasture grass.
What Are the Benefits of Grass Fed Products?
Grass fed products are considered superior quality food items because of certain health benefits these products offer to their consumers. Read here some of the obvious benefits of grass fed products.
Improved omega-3 fatty acid: A study published in Food Science & Nutrition had compared the quantity of omega-3 fatty acids in three types of milk: these are grass-fed, conventional, and organic. Researchers collected more than 1,000 samples of milk from grass-fed cows for three years and compared it to the data collected from a similar study of conventional and organic milk.
The results showed that the milk collected from grass-fed cows had 147% more omega-3s, which are useful for fighting tenderness and heart disease as well as for promoting brain health. It is better than conventional milk, and grass fed milk offers better health advantage of 52% more than any organic milk does.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as ALA, EPA, and DHA, are polyunsaturated fats that the body needs by cannot produce and therefore needs to obtain through eating only. These essential nutrients prevent and manage heart disease. Our body uses ALA for energy and the other two Omega-3s EPA and DHA. EPA makes sure that our inflammatory system functions properly by allowing the cells to signal and communicate, and it can reduce the risk of excessive inflammation. DHA ensures that our nervous system functions well.
Happy cow offers better milk quality: “Grass-fed cow dairy is originated from the happy cows that have browsed in pastures year-round, which includes the winter and early spring,” says Sharif Ramadan, Head of Brands at NFPC. He has added more that “Animals are free to roam in the fields of New Zealand to graze all year-round including the spring, summer and early autumn. This brings them in enjoying their usual free browsing and grazing habits to what their true nature is and they turns to be the happier animals in comparison to the animals in captivity.
Supply of CLA: According to research, we should find our self in getting at least 75mg of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) from an 8-ounce portion of grass-fed cow’s milk.
CLA is short form of conjugated linoleic acid, a fat linked with many positive health benefits. The amount of CLA available in grass fed products get increased based on the cow’s diet of fresh grasses. CLA offers better immunity and inflammatory support, improved bone mass, takes care of blood sugar regulation, helps in reducing body fat, minimizes the risk of heart attack, and aids in maintaining lean body mass. Researchers have started to look into CLA as a reducer of cancer and tumor risk although this is not yet well researched.
Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which can protect the cells from the harmful effect of free radical damage to DNA. Beta-carotene is being researched as a possible cancer prevention support agent. When it is coupled with vitamin E, beta-carotene becomes a potential malignance fighter.
Products from grass fed animals (like beef and ghee) tend to be leaner with less fat content. Nutritionists has already declared that all fats are not that bad for health. There are some “good fats” that the body needs and even craves for getting it. These grass fed dairy products are found richer in omega-3 fats, beta-carotene, and CLA.
Benefits of Grass Fed clarified Butter
Clarified butter or ghee Butter contains loads of saturated fats. If we consider grass fed beef as leaner than its grain fed equivalent, grass fed clarified butter is almost a pure dairy fat, so grass feeding neither lower the fat nor affect the caloric content. What grass feeding enhances for clarified butter is to make it richer in power and more nutritious in effect.
Grass fed clarified butter or ghee is found richer in fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, such as:
- Vitamin A, is known for strengthening the teeth, skeleton mucus membranes, and skin. This results in promoting good vision, including low-light vision, and increased endocrine system functioning.
- Vitamin E is identified as an antioxidant to shield the cells from the recurring free radical damage.
- Vitamin K2 can improve heart health by keeping calcium left over out of the arteries.
- Butyric acid, works as an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that can help with heart health and keeps healthy colon.
- Arachidonic Acids (ARA) promotes cell signaling function to help in increasing immune responses in the human body.
- Like many grass fed products, grass fed clarified butter is higher in CLA than its traditional alternative, especially when it is extracted from the animals that nourished by fresh grasses from the pasture in diet.
Pro and Cons of Eating Grass Fed Products
The pros and cons of eating grass fed products are interesting enough. Grass fed animal products are undeniably better doe the consumers. They contain enlarged amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, CLAs, and Beta-carotenes. They also offer vitamins and nutrients that usually come from eating greens in diet. By most reports, grass fed cattle and dairy cows are measured as happier, since they do not suffer from the problem of captivity as well as from the common diseases that often come from grain-feeding.
The major drawback of eating grass fed meet is the same issue that torments the beef industry as a whole. Methane releases from cattle are counted as greenhouse gases that are polluting the environment and contributing to the climate change to a large extent. And the demand for beef offsets the production capability of pasture-raising farmhouses.
But happily concluded that this con may affect beef eaters but not grass fed dairy consumers.
Let’s summarize what makes grass fed product promising for us.
Grass fed: food for better future
Factory farming is damaging our planet and accordingly it is divining our natural resources too without much strain. Corn, the main grain fed to feedlot cattle may need huge amounts of pesticides, fertilizers and use of fossil fuels in its production. To put all these in count, David Pimentel an Ecology professor at Cornell University, has stated that “to make the fertilizer to grow the corn to feed just one feedlot steer for its short life (14-16 months) takes about 284 gallons (1,075L) of oil; a massive drain on a finite natural resource. Heavily subsidized, corn is a cheap grain that allows for the quick fattening of cattle without any consideration for the larger picture of what it is doing to our planet”.
Grass fed is the healthy way! Cattle that do not get their food from quality compromised cheap corn, do not have the same ecological impact that factory farmed captive cattle do, and the difference makes them healthier than their captive siblings. If we wish to stay healthy in terms of our food, we need to take care of what we are having and how we are taking care of our health. Grass fed is one of the ways to stay healthy inside and outside.
Grass fed: benefits of the animals
Grass fed cows conversely, are allowed to graze in open pastures on a diet that nourishes them, instead of distressing them, resulting in healthier cows that don’t require antibiotics to keep them healthy.
The amount of grass a grass fed cow consumes may vary based on the country and region in which the dairy farm is located. So the benefits of grass fed farming for animals are 3 pointed.
- Happier Animals – Permitted to wander free in natural environment for a lifetime, grass fed animals enjoy a natural diet, fresh air, sun light and rain
- Healthier Animals – offering grass fed animals with plenty of space which reduces stress levels and keep them neutrally healthy
- Respect and Integrity – Grass-fed animals enjoy minimal human touch points– this aids them to remain happy and live their lives with joy
Grass fed farming: welfares for environment
Grass fed cows contrariwise, are permitted to graze in open pastures on a diet that nourishes them, instead of upsetting them, resulting in healthier cows that don’t require the supportive doses of antibiotics to retain their health and immunity.
Cramped into small coops, often not even bigger than they are, manure mashes at the cattle’s feet, while they are given a diet that causes digestive upset and illness often often makes these animals stressed and unhappy. Coupled with strain and nearness to disease, it is no wonder these cows leads an unhappy and undernourished lives.
The volume of grass a grass fed cow consumes may vary based on the country and province in which the farm is situated. In North America, specifically in the Northeastern United States and in Canada, grass fed dairy cows are fed a minimum of 75% grass to ensure the general health and well-being of the animals are well maintained. In New Zealand grass fed cows are 100% grass fed to ensure the best quality of NZ made dart products.
Due to the average climate challenges all over the world, grass fed cows are fed a diet rich in grass mainly to ensure they can endure healthy energy levels and can produce healthy, grass fed milk. This is all about a healthy and organic food concept for better and improved lifestyle.
We can safely conclude that Grass fed products have some definite health advantages. Following this dictum grass fed clarified butter is anytime better than normal dairy butter. The science behind grass-fed butter is simple; cows consume grass, which is their natural diet and produces milk with better scale of nutrients. It’s now logical to go for grass fed dairy products. It’s worth including in your daily diet.
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