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The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef for Athletes

gestational diabetes, CLA, grass-fed beef

Protein is important to incorporate into your diet no matter what lifestyle you lead, however, for athletes it’s vital to maintain an adequate intake of protein for optimal performance and recovery. Unfortunately, with the recent debate over which source of protein is most beneficial to our health, beef protein has gotten a bad reputation.

There is a multitude of articles to be found on the internet about the vilification of beef protein and the negative effects it has on our health and the impact on the environment.  However, when given a second glance, the correlation to beef protein and negative health effects were negligible. So, why is grass-fed beef an ideal protein source for those with an active lifestyle?

For starters, most grass-fed beef cuts have 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional grain-fed beef. Research examining the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and their effects on our overall health has become increasingly apparent.

Read More: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef

What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

  • Improve cognitive function (ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, diabetes)
  • Combat cancer
  • Help prevent and reverse cardiovascular disease
  • Boost immune system function
  • Reduce inflammation

Grass-Fed Beef and Improved Cognitive Function

What’s more important than the health of your brain? Omega-3’s provide many beneficial constituents in the prevention of cognitive decline. One of the main fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, plays a huge role in neuronal membranes. Omega-3’s, in general, have been shown to have huge benefits on neuronal functioning, inflammation, oxidation, and cell death. Due to their effects on lipids, inflammation, and vascular function, omega-3’s may even prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [*].

Omega-3’s Combat Cancer

Omega-3’s are not just important to consume if you’re an athlete. Certain omega-3’s have been shown to reduce the size of tumors. They act by reducing white blood cell accumulation, inflammation, and oxidative stress. These are all components linked to the development of tumors [*].

The Importance of Omega-3’s for Athletes

Recovering for optimal performance is one of the key components of being a competitive athlete. Every athlete faces pain and injury at some point during their athletic career, with most resorting to over the counter pain medications to relieve the pain due to inflammation.

Recent studies have demonstrated just how effective the consumption of omega-3’s are in relation to the prevention and improvement of inflammation. This is an important discovery for individuals of all lifestyles but can be extremely beneficial for athletes and others who live a highly active lifestyle. In one study, in particular, the results showed that supplementing with omega-3’s had the same effect as NSAID medications in reducing arthritic pain [*].

Grass-Fed Beef and the Importance of CLA

Grass-fed beef has been shown to contain two to four times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than cows fed conventional grain diets. CLA is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that has anti-adipogenic and anti-carcinogenic effects. It’s a compound especially important for athletes to receive due to its ability to promote fat loss and muscle gain. More benefits of CLA include:

  • Strength improvements
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Bone-building benefits
  • Improved growth and development
  • Improved digestion

CLA and Testosterone

Some research has shown that taking CLA alone or in addition to supplements like creatine and whey protein can help improve strength and lean muscle mass. CLA supplementation could increase lipolysis (the breakdown of fats and other lipids) and reduce the accumulation of fatty acids on the adipose tissue. One study regarding endurance athletes produced significant results, finding a specific pathway that stimulates the biosynthesis of testosterone following a series of CLA supplementation [*].

CLA and Cancer

CLA supplementation is important for individuals of all lifestyles due to its anti-cancer properties. There have been many studies that have demonstrated that CLA suppresses the development of multistage carcinogenesis at different sites. CLA has been shown to help the accumulation of tumor-suppressive proteins [*].

More Than Just Healthy Fats

Along with being a good source of healthy fats ideal for athletic performance, grass-fed beef has many other benefits. Grass-fed beef contains high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins including thiamin and riboflavin. The contents of these nutrients in grass-fed beef are significantly higher than those found in cows fed a conventional diet of grain [*].

The quality of your meat should be a top priority when shopping for yourself and your family, and what better way to ensure high quality than knowing exactly where your beef came from? US Wellness Meats takes the guessing out of where you’re getting your beef and promises nothing but the best grass-fed beef available.

stephanie lodgeAbout The Author:

Steph is a writer, competitive weightlifter and nutritional consultant with a passion for health and wellness. She is the founder of The Athlete’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to providing its audience with articles, recipes and the latest nutritional information on their favorite foods. Find her on instagram @stephrlo or at

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