Is Bison Healthy Red Meat?

Bison meat contains many important nutrients.

Bison meat contains many important nutrients.

"Reader’s Digest" magazine lists bison, or buffalo meat, as one of five super foods for women because of the nutrients it provides. Lean cuts of bison are low in fat and calories and high in vitamins and minerals. If you are looking for a healthy red meat that is an alternative to beef, try bison, which is becoming more readily available at grocery stores and in restaurants.

Serving Size and Macronutrients

A 3-ounce serving of raw bison meat contains 140 calories and an impressive 22 grams of protein. Bison is a superior protein source because it provides you with all of the essential amino acids. You need essential amino acids from food because your body cannot make them. The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 30 percent of your calories from fat. With one serving of bison meat containing 2 percent of your daily fat intake, it barely puts a dent in your daily fat recommendations. Bison also provides you with omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in your body and may prevent chronic disease.

Vitamins and Minerals

The vitamins and minerals in bison are comparable to other red meats. The most prominent vitamins in bison are B-12, B-6 and B-3. One serving of bison contains 43 percent the recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12, 12 percent of the daily value of B-6 and 10 percent of the daily value of B-3. All of the B vitamins are needed to metabolize fats and protein for energy, nervous system function and healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver. Bison is also high in iron, a critical nutrient especially for females, as it transports oxygen throughout your body. Bison is rich in selenium, zinc and phosphorous, containing 47, 25 and 20 percent of the recommended daily value of these nutrients respectively.

Bison Production

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, antibiotics and hormones are not given to bison. Beef typically contains hormones unless it is labeled otherwise, or it is organic. Bison are also grass-fed, which results in meat that is lower in fat content and higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Considerations

Similar to any red meat, the fat content of bison meat varies. Opt for 90-percent lean bison. Bison meat is typically more expensive than other ground meats because it is not as prevalent as other red meats, and it takes longer to raise a natural, grass-fed animal with no hormones or antibiotics. Cooking may also deplete the vitamin and mineral content of the meat. Broil or grill bison meat to retain the majority of nutrients, and avoid overcooking it. The low fat content means that the meat will cook quickly and get tough if you cook it past medium.

 

About the Author

Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.

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