An intro to beef fat + why it’s important to consume
We’ve really upped our beef fat intake since we went mostly carnivore in 2019 and enjoying continually learning about why it’s such a smart move. It’s an incredibly health fat to consume (and use topically which we’ll get into in later posts) but so feared because of the stigma still attached to it in regards to ‘fat being bad’ and ‘saturated fat is harmful’.
Us humans need to be rid of that old outdated and just plain WRONG way of thinking once and for all, do our health a favour and get on the good fat train!
We’re creating a 4-part blog series covering the benefits of beef fat for our health inside and out, how to consume and use it including how to make natural skin products!
This first post is all about why beef fat is so healthy.
The health benefits of good quality beef fat
Beef fat from good quality sources (i.e. grass-fed, organic, bio-dynamic farms) contains essential nutrients the human body needs to functional optimally and it’s thought that raw beef fat in particular contains more ‘bioavailable’ forms of nutrients, then say cooked/rendered fat (e.g. tallow).
What does “bioavailable” mean?
The term “bioavailability” means biological availability and it describes the proportion of a mineral or vitamin in a food, which is available for absorption and utilization in the body. In nutritional science, the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals depends on your nutritional and physiological status. This means that a high nutritional status of a specific vitamin or mineral limits the absorption in the gut and vice versa. The bioavailability of vitamins and minerals is defined as the part of the substance that is absorbed and ready to use. (Sourced from NJORD Nutrition)
Beef fat, raw or rendered, has been proven to contain bioavailable nutrients but we’ve heard a few carnivore diet experts (including doctors) theorise that bioavailability is better in its raw state.
We’ll go into more detail in later posts but there are basically three types of beef fat:
- Raw suet – the fat from around the organs such as the kidneys
- Raw fat – the fat from other areas of the body
- Tallow – any fat that has been rendered
Tip: tallow should be yellow in colour. That’s a sign it’s from grass-fed cattle.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of beef fat let’s talk about specific nutrients their benefits to our health.
- Beta-carotene: a natural form of Vitamin A – an essential nutrient – which the body can convert to Vitamin A as needed. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant, important for protecting the body against free-radicals. Grass contains beta-carotene, grain does not. So grass-fed beef fat is where it’s at!
- Vitamin A: the human body converts beta-carotene to Vitamin A as it requires and is the safest form of this Vitamin because supplements can actually cause more harm than good.
- Vitamin D: helps the intestine absorb nutrients, prevents osteomalacia and rickets, regulates blood pressure, and assists in the absorption of calcium in the body, that prevents osteoporosis or arthritis. The best form of this is from direct sunlight daily, but foods can help boost our levels safely, as opposed to supplements.
- Vitamin E: a group of eight compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols which reduces cholesterol and the risk of developing diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer
- Vitamin K: good for the heart, immune-boosting, bone density, cognitive function, dental health, quicker healing, reducing PMS symptoms and more.
- Selenium: a powerful antioxidant, may help prevent some cancers, can help prevent heart disease, important for mental health, thyroid health, immune-boosting, and can help reduce the severity of Asthma.
- CLA: Tallow is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid which, according to some studies, can help burn fat.
- Omega-3: helps fight depression and anxiety, improves eye health, promotes brain health during pregnancy and in early life, can improve risk factors for heart disease, can reduce symptoms of ADHD in children, reduces inflammation, may help prevent cancer and many more diseases and symptoms. Beef fat does also contain Omega-6 which is often suggested as something to avoid. It’s all about getting a good ratio of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which is easier to do when the beef and fat is from grass-fed cattle, as grain-fed meat and fat is extremely high in Omega-6.
The nutrients in beef fat help improve the immune system.
Beef fat is also an excellent form of energy for the human body to use, as opposed to sugar, caffeine and empty carbohydrates
Lean vs fatty cuts of meat
With the importance of balancing out Omega-3’s and 6’s it’s ideal to consume fatty cuts of meat only from good quality sources (farmers using organic and grass-fed/finished methods) but when you can’t access grass-fed beef then that’s when you should opt for the leaner cuts and try to add good quality grass-fed FAT to your meal to make up the fat content.
Keep some grass-fed tallow or suet handy to cook in and top your cooked meats with. We always have minced raw organic suet in the freezer and a jar of rendered grass-fed tallow beside the stove.
The other element to consider when choosing which cuts of meat to buy is the gelatin-factor. This could easily be a post on it’s own as there’s quite a lot of detail with this but basically, we need gelatin with our meat when we consume it and we need to include offal because over a long time if we’re only consuming muscle meat (lean or fatty) such as chicken breasts, thighs off the bone, rump, backstrap etc we can easily get high homasistine levels in the blood which contributes to making us more susceptible to the big diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Disease etc.
This is due to the lack of glycine – a crucial amino acid needed when consuming protein.
It’s found in the collagen and cartilage which is not available with muscle meat alone. The liver produces a small amount but not enough to sustain us, we need it mostly from our food.
An easy way to add it in is to use pure collagen and gelatin powders from grass-fed beef. Collagen powders dissolve without needing to be mixed with hot liquids, you can place a spoonful in cold water and it’ll dissolve perfectly. Gelatin that gels is for making other foods such as fruit gummies or even egg-noodles.
Bone broth contains all the nutrients required to break down meat properly to it’s a good idea to drink some with a muscle meat meal. It contains collagen, gelatin and a stack of essential vitamins and minerals that all work together.
Make your own (ideal) or buy organic bone broth from health food stores, online, local markets etc.
So the bottom line here is we can become pretty darn healthy from eating good quality meat, fat, and collagen daily. But not on their own – they work best in the body when consumed all together.
The next post will include:
- Animal vs plant protein/fat
- How to source good quality animal fats
- Environmental benefits of using animal fats
Until then, please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Clint + Aimee
Primal Fitness + Health Coaches
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