Three questions about buying local for your health

What are some reasons a person might want to buy their meat from a local farm?

One reason is they might want to know how the animals were raised, and the best way to know how they were raised is to know your farmer. There are a couple of reasons people might care about how the meat was raised. One is a kindness issue. Some people care about the animals’ quality of life. Although filming inside large animal feeding operations is often against the law, there is plenty of information available that give people reason to be concerned about the possible suffering of farm animals. Some people just have a gut level aversion to the idea of animals living and dying in overcrowded, inside-only living conditions. And they do not want their money to support that. 

Is local meat healthier?

That depends on how it is raised. However, it is possible to know the answer when you are acquainted with your farmer. The Standard American Diet (SAD) does not have enough of something called “omega-3 fatty acids.” Human beings need a certain ratio of two kinds of essential fatty acids: omega-3’s and omega-6’s. Over the past couple of generations the ratio has gotten out-of-balance. It should be 1:1 to 1:3. For most people today, it is closer to 1:20. This shift is largely due to a shift away from green leafy vegetables and grasses towards corn and seed based oils. Corn is a seed and has lots of omega-6. Grasses, and things that eat grasses, have omega-3. Most meat purchased is now corn fed, and FYI: even some fish (if farmed) is corn fed. If your meat is corn fed, it is adding to the omega-6 burden in your diet. If your meat is grass fed, or if the fish eats algae for example – it will have a good amount of omega-3. Thus, grass fed and finished beef is something some people are wanting. Eggs from pastured versus caged hens have been compared: pastured eggs have more Vitamin E and more omega-3s. 

What are some health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids?

There is a lot of research on this. Too much for this article. But to make a very long story short- – there is evidence that sufficient omega-3’s are needed for optimal brain health, and can matter for things like feeling depressed or anxious.  It is also well established that adding more omega-3’s to your diet results in lower triglycerides (they are heart healthy).

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