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Proven Health Benefits

Proven Health Benefits of Ostrich Meat

Certain types of animals always seem to capture our attention, and flightless birds really stand out in that category. Ostriches can grow up to seven feet tall and run more than 40 miles per hour. Though you don’t see them being farmed or in the wild here in the United States, that’s not the case in Africa as there are many of them out there, with some areas even having an abundance of ostrich.

Though not too common in the past 20 years, ostrich meat has been eaten for several thousand years. We’re starting to see an uptick in the production of ostrich meat as it becomes more available thanks to shipping technology increasing. Even if you don’t think that you could possibly eat an ostrich, it’s actually better for you than just about any other meat out there. Ostrich meat appears to be on the rise, and we’ll explain why with the nutritional breakdown and great health benefits you get from eating more ostrich in your diet.

Nutrition of Ostrich

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In 300 grams of ostrich tenderloin (which is about 3.5 ounces), you’re going to be getting a pretty filling meal for just over 120 calories. Ostrich contains no carbohydrates and only 3.2 grams of fat, while also providing about half of your daily recommendation for protein. Unlike some other meats, ostrich is packed with vitamins, giving you almost a full daily serving of vitamin B12. Niacin and vitamin B6 are also abundant with a quarter of your daily value, while you get around 10 to 20 percent of needed vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

Ostrich also contains plenty of helpful minerals, giving you more than half of your needed selenium for the day, and a quarter of your needed iron, phosphorus and zinc. While under 10 percent of your daily value, ostrich does provide you with a good source of magnesium, potassium and copper. There are 80 milligrams of cholesterol found in ostrich, but we’ll explain more on that topic in just a moment.

Lean Meat

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While ostrich meat is technically considered to be a red meat, it certainly doesn’t have the nutritional aspects that most red meats do. Ostrich meat is incredibly low in calories, allowing it to fit into any diet. That’s good news for those of us that want to lose weight without giving up the meat. Ostrich also provides a huge protein punch, allowing your body to build muscle more easily.

When your body has more lean muscle mass, you’re able to burn more calories throughout the day (even while resting) that burns off fat. For those that are looking for a low-carb approach, ostrich meat is perfect as it hits many of the macros in these types of diets, bringing very little fat and carbs while bringing in the protein. Doctors say you should only get around eight ounces of red meat each week, and ostrich is a great way of staying within your goals.

Enhanced Energy

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Protein is one of those important nutrients that’s going to help you get through a tough workout, and even make some quick repairs to sore or damaged muscles, ligaments and more. Another thing that provides you with a natural energy boost is iron, which ostrich has plenty of in each serving. With 25 percent of your daily iron needs, you’re much less likely to feel fatigued and show other symptoms of anemia on a regular basis.

Iron can be hard to come by outside of the meat department, but most red meats will still make you feel bogged down because of the high fat content. That’s not a concern with ostrich meat, which will have you feeling ready get up and going. Pairing ostrich together with foods such as chickpeas or spinach should give you all the energy you need for the day.

Sugar Free

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While you won’t find sugar in just about any meat (ostrich included), most red meats are still not recommended for those that are trying to watch their blood sugar. Eating too much red meat isn’t good for the heart, and this is especially true for diabetics. Doctors have said, however, that ostrich is perfectly fine to eat, even if you’re diabetic. The glycemic index for ostrich meat is zero, and it’s not expected to cause any spikes or crashes in your glucose levels. For those that have been staying away from burgers and steaks, the good news is that ostrich tastes almost identical!

Vitamin B12 Packed

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We mentioned earlier that you can get an entire day’s worth of vitamin B12 from just one serving of ostrich meat. It’s a vitamin that often gets ignored by some people, but has tremendous benefits that you’ll need. Vitamin B12 has been shown to lower your chances of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, while preventing other signs of aging such as memory loss and muscle function.

The good news doesn’t stop there, as you lower your chances for many different diseases by getting more vitamin B12, including certain forms of cancer such as lung and colon cancer. Other benefits include preventing infections, treating anemia, increasing thyroid function and maintaining fertility. Though you might not think about it as much as other vitamins, it’s just as important as the rest to get more vitamin B12 in your diet.

Environmental Friendly

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If you’re not vegetarian, but still care about the environment, you should focus on eating more ostrich meat in your diet. Research has found that ostrich is much easier to farm, taking about 75 percent less water than cattle production. Ostrich farming also produces much lower greenhouse gases, with almost no methane to be found. For these reasons, ostrich farming is becoming more common for environmentally conscious farmers that don’t want to emit harmful gasses while still providing an excellent source of nutrition that can make them a profit. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Summing it Up

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Because of all of these benefits and the fact that ostrich is better for your health than red meat, why aren’t people eating it more often? After all, studies showed that farmed ostriches aren’t very likely to carry diseases, even when compared to the meats that people eat on an almost daily basis. Ostrich meat production has also been shown to be more lean and better for the environment compared to other meats.

It seems that the biggest drawback that’s been stated so far is the price, which can be a fair amount more expensive than other meats. Some people also have a stigma about eating ostrich compared to other birds. There’s a turnaround in the ostrich market right now, as prices and availability aim to be more consumer friendly. Many farmers are already ahead of the curve in trying to make ostrich the new meat of choice to help the planet. It’s only a matter of time, and it’s definitely a good thing for those that don’t want to give up meat, but still eat healthy.

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