We’ve waxed poetic on the importance of omega-3’s for your overall health—they’re crucial for immunity, brain health, heart health, eye health, and more. While their levels vary a lot, grass-fed beef is a non-vegetarian option to consume these omega-3’s, including ALA, EPA, and DHA. How so? Well, according to Biklé, you are what your food eats; so if a cow is grazing on a plant-based diet, “their diet is really rich in omega-3’s, because omega-3’s are in leafy, living kinds of plants,” she notes. (They’re a fundamental part of photosynthesis, Biklé explains. “[They] help the plant capture light energy and turn it into energy that’s growing the plant.”)
Cows that are corn-fed, however, are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which are not so great for your health when consumed in excess—research suggests the optimal balance is a 2:1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. That said, “If you’re going to eat meat and dairy products, switch over to grass-fed, because of the levels of omega-3’s in animals raised that way,” Biklé says. Of course, not all organic beef is also grass-fed, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for both labels if you can.