*Please click the links provided in the post to read studies on conjugated linoleic acid
What if you could eat your beef, yet remain healthy? What if you could eat eggs, chicken, turkey, etc., but still maintin a low body weight? Conjugated linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in these products may provide these healthy benefits, and more, according to numerous studies on the fatty acid composition and its relation to human health.
There are many studies linking meat consumption with cancer, diabetes and a host of other health problems that stem from an unhealthy lifestyle and bad dietary habits. However, many of these studies are indicating factory farm animals, who have been fed GMO (genetically modified) grains, promoting higher levels of omega-6 fats in their blood (inflammatory fats—high livels have been shown to contribute to cancer cell growth). These animals are also pumped full of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick due to their stressful environment, and growth hormones to increase the rate of growth in the animal. I don’t know about you, but all these things don’t really sound health promoting.
This might be the reason why many studies link cancer with meat eaters. But what if there was a way to avoid all meat containing these unhealthy additives and fats, meat that was organically raised, free range and ate the diet their bodies were designed to eat? Would they be healthier, and would our health reflect theirs? Most possibly, especially when you look into the research done with grass fed beef and animals and CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid.
What is CLA?
CLA is an essential fatty acid. This means our body cannot manufacture CLA on its own, and we need to obtain it from our diet. The foods high in CLA include eggs, beef (specifically grass fed beef), chicken and turkey. Finding CLA in vegetable sources is nearly impossible, unless you want to consume corn oil (eek!), which is especially high in omega-6 fats.
CLA has been shown in recent studies to fight obesity, reduce the risk for cancer, help you lose weight, improve immune function as well as fight diabetes. An amazing list that you don’t immediately jump to when you think about eating meat.
There are many naysayers about consuming beef, especially because of the deplorable conditions factory farm animals are kept throughout their short lives. In my opinion, this form of farming has to go, and replaced with a slowly growing movement of free range, organic farming, which lets the animals roam freely on a diet that will promote their health (rather than being fed grain—an unhealthy food that promotes inflammation, and one that they would never eat in nature).
Animals who are free range typically live longer than animals who are on factory farms, and tend be healthier without the use of antibiotics. Organic, free range cows are especially high in CLA, afat which has been shown to fight cancer and belly fat. In fact,you don’t necessarily have to consume grass fed beef too often to receive its health benefits. Free range, cage free organic eggs also provide a high amount of CLA (but not as much as grass fed beef).
The Health Benefits of CLA
This is Part 1 of a two part series on CLA. The benefits of conjugated linoleic acid will cover an entire post (in fact, probably even two posts!), so I will retain the benefits of this healthy fat until tomorrow. However, here are a few bullet points (which will be followed with the studies that validate the claims in the following post) that show the health benefits of the essential fatty acid, CLA:
- Reduces the Risk for Cancer
- Fights Diabetes
- Fights Abdominal Obesity
- Reduces High Triglyceride Accumulation
Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.