You have probably heard of Wagyu beef. It is, after all, world-famous for being the tenderest, most delicious, highest quality meat on earth.
But what you may not know already is that there is so much more to Wagyu – not least of all the fantastic benefits that also make it the healthiest meat on the planet!
Here at A5 Meats, we can’t wait to share more with you about the rare, prized delicacy that is Wagyu!
WHAT IS A5 WAGYU BEEF?
Let’s start with the name: Wagyu. So, what does it mean? “Wa” means ‘Japanese,’ and “Gyu” means ‘cow’ - pronounced “wagyoo.” So far, so good - but that’s where the simplicity ends.
Wagyu cows are not just any cow that produces any old burger – they are about so much more.
Wagyu cows are uniquely predisposed by genetics to marble fat within the muscle structure (otherwise known as IMF – intramuscular fat). The result is an incredible pink and white marble effect that is the hallmark of top quality Wagyu.
Those fatty deposits also need to accumulate in precisely the right place at the correct rate within their muscle fibers (not outside of them) to produce the highest grade of meat. Wagyu cattle graze for around three years after weaning – by comparison, standard cows typically graze for approximately eighteen months. This extended period gives time for the famous marbling to develop naturally in their muscle fibers.
Even stress caused by not getting along with another member of the herd is not acceptable, with the issue tackled straight away. The animals concerned are quickly separated so that everyone can be friends and get back to being serenely happy again as soon as possible.
Wagyu cows are never force-fed – that would result in elevated stress levels, reduce the quality of the meat, and put the animal at risk. A constant supply of clean, crisp fresh water and a carefully controlled feed diet is also essential to complement their grazing.
As a result of the care and world-class dedication the cows receive throughout their lives, Wagyu beef is known to be the tastiest, most delicious, sought-after meat in the world. Authentic Wagyu beef is incredibly rare and is only available to a very select few.
Every authentic Wagyu cut is traceable from fork to farm. Only a select proportion of true Wagyu - from just four native Japanese cattle breeds - inspected and graded by heavily regulated, skilled inspectors in Japan, make the grade to perfection – A5 – the best of the very best.
It takes over three years for assessors to train in Japan to be able to grade Wagyu to the required standard, with assessors greatly respected as highly skilled in their profession. Every Wagyu animal receives an inspection from three different assessors to ensure the most exceptional quality and selection processes for these exquisite cuts.
WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY ABOUT THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF WAGYU BEEF?
The health benefits of Wagyu are scientifically proven. A study published in 2016 states Wagyu beef has higher amounts of monounsaturated fats than other meats. Monounsaturated fats can lower LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol). It even states within the study that potentially, it could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For this reason, monounsaturated fats are also known as ‘heart-healthy fats.’
Pennsylvania State University also published more positive results of a study in 2011 (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). PSU confirmed that eating monounsaturated fatty acids – contained in Wagyu in high levels – is better for your heart than eating specially formulated lean products.
As well as a better ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats, even the saturated fat in Wagyu is unique. Around 40% of the saturated fat in Wagyu meat consists of stearic acid, which contributes to keeping the impact on cholesterol levels low.
Conjugated linoleic acid (otherwise known as CLA) is also in Wagyu meat. CLA-rich foods help boost our health, can help decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and also contributes to weight loss. Wagyu contains the highest amount of conjugated linoleic acid (otherwise known as CLA) per gram of almost any foodstuff. That works out to approximately 30% more than other cattle breeds.
HEALTH FACTS BEHIND MONOUNSATURATED FATS CONTAINED IN WAGYU BEEF
We know monounsaturated fats are the good guys – but how? And what exactly do they do? It’s ingenious, that’s for sure.
Monounsaturated fats lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in your system. LDL’s (low-density lipoproteins) carry cholesterol around your body. The problem with LDL cholesterol is that they dump all that cholesterol straight into your arteries, where it sticks to your artery walls. Over time, it can cause blockages and deprive your organs of oxygen. Arterial blockages are contributors to heart disease, strokes, or heart attacks, not to mention any other number of less than desirable side effects.
HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins), on the other hand, is a little like it’s counterpart LDL. The difference with HDL cholesterol is that unlike its unhealthy pal LDL, it doesn’t dump the cholesterol in the arteries. It’s a far less lazy protein that takes the dangerous cholesterol junk all the way over to your liver, where it can be safely processed and eliminated from the body. Amazing stuff indeed.
HOW DOES WAGYU COMPARE WITH OTHER MEATS AND FISH?
You have probably realized by now that the health benefits of Wagyu are seriously starting to stack up.
It’s packed with those high-density lipoproteins (HDL’s) to help shift cholesterol from your system, high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and plenty of stearic acids. All that is just for a start, and those are just the health benefits – taste is another level altogether! The low melting point of the fat in Wagyu meat means it doesn’t need extensive cooking, resulting in consistently juicy, mouthwatering steaks time after time.
Wagyu is not only luxurious and delicious, but it’s also got some pretty significant health credentials. That makes it seriously hard to beat. But how exactly does it stack up against other meats? Health is about more than just cholesterol, so let’s talk about some other elements that are important here.
First up, we have calories: they have a terrible reputation. We need them to function – just not too many, which is where people run into problems. If we take in too many calories, then our bodies store this excess energy as fat.
In excessive quantities, that’s not great for our health, as it causes obesity and can start to build up around our vital organs.
Next comes salt. Salt is a mineral, and it’s essential to keep us healthy. Again, as with many things in life, the problems begin with excess – too much of it can cause raised blood pressure and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Many processed foodstuffs are packed with salt to give them flavor and to act as a preservative, which means most of us already eat far too much of it.
Now that we know more about what cholesterol, calories, and salt do to our health in excessive amounts, let’s see how Wagyu compares to other meats in these areas.
- 63 times the monounsaturated fat of fish (10.085g vs. 0.16)
- The lowest salt content compared to chicken, fish, pork, venison, and turkey (at just 0.12g/100g)
- 22% lower cholesterol than pork (70mg/100g vs 90mg/100g)
- 15% lower cholesterol than chicken (70mg vs. 84mg/100g)
- 20% lower cholesterol than regular beef
- Just five calories more per 100g than pork (286 vs. 271/100g)
Let’s say that again: Wagyu has a massive 63 times the monounsaturated fat (that’s the LDL good guys that help reduce cholesterol) compared to fish. It also has low salt levels and lower overall cholesterol than many other types of meat, including regular beef.
Heart disease is the highest cause of morbidity in the USA, and, shockingly, is attributed to around 1 in 4 deaths. Getting our cholesterol levels down reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease striking. Reducing our salt intake and being sensible with the calories we take on board is also crucial in keeping our bodies and those of our families healthy.
Wagyu beef could improve your health, help you look after your heart, and lead a lower-fat and reduced-calorie lifestyle. All without having to sacrifice quality or taste in any way. With all these benefits, it gives you a boost in ways that other meats miss completely.
There is no other meat that can even compare in taste or texture to Wagyu, as top chefs around the world all know.
The only thing left to talk about now is, why are you waiting? Get on over to Five Meat selection today and see how they can help start a healthier lifestyle. Ordering is simple, with A-Five eats sourcing only the very finest for your table. You’ll never look back, with a whole new world of health opening up to you – never has healthy eating tasted so good.