Bison, a Healthy Alternative to Beef

Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value. When compared to other meat sources, beef, pork, chicken and even salmon, Bison has a greater concentration of iron, much lower in fat and cholesterol, and has a pretty impressive B12 level.  In fact Bison is higher in many nutrients as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well-being.  It is an excellent choice for those with heart problems and diabetes and many people who can’t tolerate beef (myself included) do well with Bison because it is much easier to digest.

Comparison Fat
(grams)
Calories
(kcal)
Cholesterol
(mg)
Iron
(mg)
Vitamin B12
(mcg)
Bison 2.42 143 82 3.42 2.86
Beef (choice) 10.15 219 86 2.99 2.65
Beef (select) 8.09 201 86 2.99 2.64
Pork 9.66 212 86 1.1 0.75
Chicken
(skinless)
7.41 190 89 1.21 0.33
Sockeye Salmon 10.97 216 87 0.55 5.80

Bison meat is also high in:

B6 – helps with heart disease, depression, and kidney stones.
Selenium – this mineral protects the body from the effects of heavy metals.
Vitamin E – protects against heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
Phosphorus – for muscle function, kidneys, regular heart beat and nerves.
Zinc – boosts the immune system.
Copper – supports the blood vessels, nerves, bones and the immune system.
Potassium – great for metabolism and builds muscle.
Riboflavin (B2) – for production of red blood cells.
Niacin (B3) – for digestive system, skin and nerves.
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids – lowers blood pressure and helps heart conditions.
Beta-Carotene – reduces risk of cancer, helps eyes, skin and immune system.
Highest level of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – reduces cancer, immune disorders, diabetes and obesity.

Aside from Bison’s remarkable nutritional value, of equal importance is how they are fed and raised.  Most bison are grass-fed (look for this when purchasing), are handled as little as possible, and live without drugs, chemicals or hormones.

When buying bison meat, don’t be misled by advertising for buffalo, bison is often mistakenly called buffalo but her in North America the species we have is actually bison, buffalo are from Asia and Africa.

Cooking Tips for Bison Steaks

Similar to beef yet bison needs to be cooked differently. Because of the lack of marbling (white streaks of fat), bison should be cooked at a lower temperature than normally used for beef. Fat acts as an insulator causing most meats to take longer to cook. This lack of fat also accounts for the deep red color of the meat.  I recommended the rib eye cut of bison for BBQ grilling, this is a fattier cut(while still very low)  and makes a great steak!

Cook bison rare to medium for best flavor. If you over cook it, you will experience a loss of juiciness and tenderness, similar to over cooked beef.

 

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