The Many Health Benefits of Bison: Part 4 – CLAs
Last, but by no means least, in our four-part series on the nutritional benefits of grassfed bison meat, we have Conjugated Linoleic Acids, aka “CLAs.” (If you’re just tuning in now and want to catch up, check out the previous posts on protein, iron, and omega-3’s.)
Why do we need CLAs?
CLAs are naturally occurring free fatty acids that are found in various meat and dairy products. Perhaps more important than what they are, are the many things they do for us such as:
- Help increase muscle mass and reduce fat
- Strengthen the immune system
- Normalize thyroid function
- Increase metabolic rate
- Reduce the risk of various diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism
As you can see, CLAs do a lot of great things for human health, so they should definitely be included in your diet! (NCBI)
Where to find CLAs
The best way to make sure you’re getting the right amount of CLAs is to eat foods that are naturally enriched with them. The most abundant source of natural CLAs is from the meat and dairy products of grassfed animals. In fact, grazing animals have 3-5 times more CLAs than animals that are grain fed. Therefore, if you are trying to eat healthier and lose a few pounds at the same time, lean grassfed meats like bison are the way to go. They have fewer calories and much higher levels of CLA than their grain fed counterparts. You’ll also be increasing your intake of Omega-3s, Vitamin E, iron, and beta-carotene. (EatWild.com).
What about CLA supplements?
Often times people trying to lose weight will turn to supplements to ensure they are getting the right nutrients while also balancing their food intake. However, CLA supplements can sometimes have adverse effects on your health, including the promotion of insulin resistance, an increase of glucose levels, and a decrease in HDL – the good cholesterol. When you can, always try to get your nutrients naturally and make sure to consult a medical professional before taking any supplements.
Well, that brings us to the end of our first series on the nutritional benefits of bison, but don’t be sad. There are a lot more amazing reasons why bison should be a regular at your dinner table. One of the main ones being how delicious it is, of course. Hungry? Check out this great recipe for Grilled Santa Maria Bison Tri-Tip (as pictured in main image).