There are many academic studies and articles out there that talk about the health and environmental benefits of 100% grass-fed meat. Now let’s talk about the benefits of grass fed lamb. Through all the chatter, it can be hard to focus and hone in on what you actually need to know. In our previous article, we narrowed down how grass-finished beef actually benefits you with its additional omega-3 acids, and what the science behind it is.
Before digging into the nutritional benefits of pasture-raised and grass-fed lamb, it is important to note the benefits this diet has to the livestock’s wellbeing as well. Lambs are naturally meant to graze on pasture with full grass diets. Commercial operations turn to grain feed in order to grow lambs faster within a shorter period of time. However, these grains are not always compatible with the animal’s digestive system and can sometimes cause upsets and metabolic issues. That is why NIKU Farms only works with farms that raise their lambs on pasture and feed 100% grass diets.
Compared to commercially raised counterparts in grain feedlots, pasture-raised lamb has 14% less fat, 8% more protein content, and 50% more ALA omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to help with reducing blood pressure, decreasing heart disease risk, and more. In some landlocked regions where seafood and other sources of omega-3 acids are inaccessible, lamb is sometimes identified as the next best source in their diets.
It is also rich in vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and vitamin B3. Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nerves and blood cells, in particular, your brain. Without adequate amounts in your diet, it could lead to anemia or neurological complications. Zinc boosts immune system functions, selenium protects your thyroid/metabolism, and vitamin B3 lowers cholesterol.
Pasture-raised lamb has a more intense flavour than commercial options because of their full grass diets. This is relevant because lamb is known for its distinctive flavour that comes from a fat component called ‘indoles’. If you want to try more pasture-raised lamb but are skeptical about its natural intensity – we suggest letting it soak in buttermilk overnight before cooking. This will help breakdown the intensity in your lamb and will result in a milder taste. You can also choose your cuts based on flavour. Cuts from the shank, shoulder, chops, and stew meat have more intensity because of higher fat content. The lamb rack, loin chops, and ribs tend to have less fat and offer sweeter flavours. See what our pasture-raised lamb farmers currently have to offer on our website here.
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