This piece is guest authored by Eve Pearce. Eve has worked as a nutritionist with a degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences. She is now a freelance writer covering topics including health research, green food production, family nutrition and health, living with conditions and health education.
While chicken is a common staple of many healthy eating diets, lots of people don’t realize that chicken and fish aren’t the only paths to a lean and healthy body. Bison meat is actually a super food that is incredibly rich in protein and nutrients including iron and zinc. Believe it or not, bison actually contains less fat, fewer calories, and lower levels of cholesterol than pork, beef, and chicken. The American Dietetic Association reports that bison is not only an excellent source of protein, but is also rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12. Zinc is known for the vital role it plays in supporting our immune system, healing wounds, and fostering muscle and tissue growth while vitamin B-12 supports nerve function, blood formation, and a healthy metabolism. In addition, bison meat offers a significant percentage of the required dietary consumption of iron for people under 50.
If you are a bodybuilder or trying to gain muscle, it is especially important to consume higher quality meats that offer higher concentrations of protein. Bison is not only a higher quality meat but also offers a larger concentration of protein than beef. The quality of bison meat is rooted in the fact that they do not contain added hormones or antibiotics. Bison are raised in a more humane manner. They are pastured and able to eat grass as opposed to the grain corn mix that is commonly associated with factory farmed beef. Whether your focus is weight loss or body building, a small change can transform your life. Using bison as opposed to fattier meats is an instant way to reduce your consumption of calories and fat.
Here is a basic nutritional comparison based on a one hundred gram serving of cooked meat:
- Bison: 143 calories/2.42 grams of fat/82 mg of cholesterol
- Select Beef : 201 calories/8.09 grams of fat/86 mg of cholesterol
- Skinless Chicken: 190 calories/7.41 grams of fat/89 mg of cholesterol
- Salmon: 216 calories/10.97 grams of fat/87 mg of cholesterol
- Pork: 212 calories/9.66 grams of fat/86 mg of cholesterol
With results like that, it’s no surprise why bison is growing in popularity as an alternative to beef. Bison contains approximately thirty-three percent less calories than beef which makes it an ideal source of protein when calories are at a premium as you reach the latter stages of getting lean. According to the USDA, a 3.5-ounce serving of bison contains 250% fewer grams of fat than a similar sized serving of 95% lean ground beef.
Athletes and Body Builders: You Are What You Eat
For athletes and body builders, the zinc contained in bison is a mineral that helps boost testosterone production. In addition, bison provides an excellent dietary source of creatine that assists in lifting heavier weights and paving the way for further muscle growth. The quality of the protein contained in bison is equally important as the quantity. What sets bison apart is that they are naturally leaner animals, even more so than grass fed beef which means they are not as high in fat making it a much healthier source of protein. That protein is important to help athletes rebuild muscles following tough games or work outs. Bison also contains more omega fats than factory farmed beef.
Here are some of the reasons why Bison is a super food for muscle building:
- Contains plenty of omega-3 fats that enhance anabolic signaling following training.
- Source of creatine that is an anaerobic energy source.
- Source of carnitine which is the nutrient that aids in using fat as fuel.
- Contains glutamine which is known as an immune booster and muscle builder.
- Source of glycine and glutathione that are immune boosters.
- Contains conjugated linoleic acid that is known as an anti-inflammatory and immune enhancer.
- Source of Vitamin B-12 which is a cofactor of energy production.
In addition to the amazing ratio of protein to calories offered by bison meat, it also happens to be incredibly delicious filled with a superior blend of amino acids that assist with fat oxidation and energy metabolism. A moderate intake of red meat will provide the body with the essential vitamins and minerals while a moderate intake of fat including some that is saturated has consistently been found to correlate with muscle development. That means you can happily enjoy bison without any feelings of guilt. For those monitoring the health of their hearts, bison is recommended by the American Heart Association because of its positive cholesterol profile.
A Healthy Life for a Bison is a Healthy Life for You
Given that bison are naturally grass fed and are not exposed to antibiotics, or hormones, they are generally much healthier than cows. In fact, federal regulations even prohibit use of artificial growth hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics in bison. That means when it comes to eating organic, bison is about as natural as it gets. In addition, since they spend all of their time grazing on grass, their levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega 3 fats are much higher. Animals that are grass fed aren’t just healthier but also lower in saturated fat. The cuts of meat that such animals produce are less inflammatory to our bodies because the ratio of omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 unsaturated fatty acid is favorable. As for factory farmed cows, they tend to contain more unhealthy fats, higher levels of saturated fats, and promote an inflammatory response inside the body that can cause your overall health to decline if not carefully managed. A study recently published demonstrated favorable changes in risk factors of cardiovascular disease for participants that consumed bison versus beef. The organically farmed nature of bison further reduces our risk of eating genetically modified products. That is indeed good news for you and your health. If you enjoy eating red meat but still want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, bison meat is the perfect choice for you.