Depending on what part of the world you live in, there might be an overpopulation of deer. In these regions, deer are often hunted for food, and the meat that they produce is referred to as venison. Venison is a red meat that tastes like beef, but is usually a little more dry and tough to chew through. That’s because venison doesn’t have nearly as much fat as your typical beef, making for a good alternative no matter how you prepare the meat.
Whether you’re making venison steaks, jerky or anything else, it’s one of those swaps that you should be making in your diet for overall health benefits. You might not like the idea of eating a deer (thanks to movies like “Bambi”), but venison provides some great nutrition that you don’t get from other red meats. To show you just how much better it is than beef, let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown and proven health benefits you get from switching to venison in your diet.
Nutrition of Venison
If you’re looking for a meat that can satisfy your carnivorous cravings while not bringing that many calories, look toward venison. Each 100 gram serving only has around 150 calories (which is about 3.5 ounces), while delivering about half of your daily recommendation for protein and no carbohydrates. Venison also carries many different helpful vitamins, with roughly one-third of your daily recommendation for thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 each. Venison is also a good source of riboflavin at 17 percent, while others that register under 10 percent include vitamin E, vitamin K, folate and pantothenic acid.
You’re also getting plenty of important minerals, with zinc being the big one at nearly 30 percent daily value, followed by phosphorus at 20 percent. Venison is a significant source of iron, potassium, copper and selenium right around between 10 and 20 percent. There’s even a boost of magnesium and calcium, and a low amount of fat at just around seven grams.
One of the reasons that people feel sluggish and tend to put on weight is because they’re simply eating too much red meat in their diet. Making the switch to venison when you’re craving red meat can help tremendously by being lower in both calories and fat. Venison also fits into a low-carb diet as it doesn’t contain any carbohydrates, while also providing enough protein to help you build up muscle.
This will give your body more energy and an ability to burn more calories and fat throughout the day while also being a filling meal. It’s been shown that venison can also avoid lowering testosterone levels in men (unlike other red meats), so that you don’t store more fat around your midsection. While you should limit your red meat intake, venison can fit into a good weight loss plan.
Eating meat means that you’re getting more iron in your diet, which is why it might be hard for some people to go vegetarian. However, most of the meats that contain a lot of iron aren’t good for you, overall. Venison provides a nice center ground by being better for you than red meat, while still providing the iron that your body needs. When you get iron into your system, your body is able to get more oxygen into the blood.
This is extremely helpful for people that have anemia, and feel the extreme fatigue symptoms that are often associated. Iron also helps to provide your muscles with better function while even getting a boost to the brain. Your brain is the biggest user of oxygen in the body, so it’s vital that you get enough iron in your diet.
One of the reasons that people are really starting to shy away from red meat is because of the effects it can have on your heart. We’ve known for quite some time that eating more red meat such as beef can raise your cholesterol levels, leading to heart disease, heart attacks or stroke. Though venison is classified as a red meat, it doesn’t have the same effects on the heart that other meats do.
Venison can be prepared without much sodium (unlike other meats), which is a great start. The vitamins found within venison can also balance your cholesterol by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Another big reason for his is because venison doesn’t have nearly as much saturated fat compared to other meats. You do need some saturated fat in your body for overall health, and venison is a good way of balancing the numbers.
While most red meats tend to clog up your arteries and cause damage to the brain over the long term, venison has the opposite effect. Venison is packed with thiamin (also known as vitamin B1) and iron that results in great brain benefits. Thiamin is an antioxidant that allows for better blood flow to the brain, and has been shown in studies to dramatically reduce the risks and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
You’ll also notice that your memory will improve with more thiamin, and you’re less likely to show signs of aging such as wrinkles. Increasing your overall brain function with thiamin isn’t talked about enough, it seems, and you can even help battle addictions and symptoms of depression, putting you in an overall better mood.
There are many great nutrients found in venison, and many of them will contribute to better overall bone health. Venison is packed with niacin while also offering some calcium and magnesium that all add up to stronger bones. These minerals have been linked to a prevention in problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis, two of the most common bone ailments that come with advanced age. It’s important to get these minerals in your body now and on a regular basis before you start to regret not getting enough later in life.
Summing it Up
With venison presenting such a good alternative to other types of meat, are there any drawbacks that you might experience by adding more to your diet? It seems that the biggest concern that people have is in regards to contamination depending on how the venison was prepared. In most cases, this is extremely rare and contamination shouldn’t be a concern as long as you’re getting your meat from a reputable source such as a grocery store.
Some people also shy away because of the cholesterol content on the nutrition label, but this shouldn’t raise any alarms as it’s the low saturated fat count that should draw you in. So is deer meat dangerous compared to any other meats that you might find at the store? The answer to that is no, the preparation risks with venison are the same as just about any food that you can find. It’s also much better for you in the long run, and is becoming more readily available. The taste and health benefits should bring meat eaters a lot of solace.