Beef can be healthy and diminish fatigue? You bet! But you won’t get those health benefits from a greasy old beef burrito made from a factory-farmed cow “finished” in a feedlot, shot up with antibiotics, dipped in pesticides and wallowing in pathogens. You’ll find healthy beef comes from happy cows fed on pasture. That increases nutrients essential to healing fatigue, including omega-3s, B and E vitamins and energizing iron. So make the mooove to pastured meats today.
1. Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for health. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are vital to health as they are used to make cell membranes throughout your body. They also help fight chronic inflammation, one of the key functions of your adrenal glands. Under persistent stress, the adrenals secrete cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone that is also responsible for keeping you alert and engaged in your daily life.
Cortisol rises and falls naturally throughout the 24-hour cycle, helping you rise in the morning then tapering off later in the day, to allow you to go to sleep. People with adrenal fatigue often have out-of-synch cortisol levels that lead to central obesity and low levels in the morning and higher levels later in the day, the reverse of what they should be for you to get through the day. Eating nutritious foods like omega-3-rich meats allows the adrenals to rest and restore, a key to good health.
2. Chronic fatigue patients lack vital omega 3 fatty acids. People with CFS and adrenal fatigue have decreased omega-3 levels. This is a concern because omega-3 deficiency has been shown to be linked to a depressed immune system in CFS. Strengthening the immune system is vital to fatigue recovery.
3. Pastured beef boasts quadruple the omega-3s of feedlot beef. The meat of grass-fed cows produce meat is very high in omega-3s — that directly correlates with the cow’s natural diet of grass, which is made up of 60% omega-3 fatty acids. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science found that omega-3 levels in beef dropped every single day cows spent in a feedlot, fattening up on grains, an unnatural diet for herbivores like cows.
4. Pastured beef contain far fewer pathogens. A study published in Science found that when cattle are fed their natural diet of grass instead of grain (as happens in feedlots) the risk of disease transmission is greatly reduced. Why? First, it keeps the overall microbe count low. Second, it keeps the bacteria from becoming acid resistant. Acid-resistant bacteria are far more likely to survive the acidity of the body’s digestive juices and cause disease. That’s another way to ease the load on your immune system and heal fatigue.
5. Beef is also a significant source of energizing B vitamins and iron. Studies show that CFS patients have high levels of the proinflammatory amino acid homocysteine. Vitamins B6 and B12 are key vitamins found in beef that help metabolize the dangerous inflammatory homocysteine molecule and convert it to beneficial substances. In addition, red meat is renowned as a rich source of iron. Upping iron intake has been shown to increase energy in fatigue patients even when they are not anemic.
6. Expect to pay more for grass-fed beef. Although demand is beginning to bring down the price of grass-fed meat, you will pay a bit more for high-quality organic grass-fed meat that is raised sustainably. It’s a good investment. Grass-fed meat enhances your health and energy, instead of creating a burden of toxins, pathogens and inflammatory fats that your body must eliminate in order to recover from fatigue. Think of it as health insurance.
Grass-fed beef — and increasingly, game meats like bison, which are becoming very popular in the US — are low in fat and high in nutrients. As a result, small amounts go a long way. That means that even someone on a tight budget can stretch their food dollars. If you’re on a budget, also look for pastured organic chicken and turkey. Free-range poultry costs less than beef and bison, yet has similar healing properties.