Emu meat- Nutritional benefits
Emu meat- Nutritional benefits
By Dr. Abhijit Mhatre,
The Emu meat can be considered as a healthy substitute for other red-meat variants such as lamb or beef. It is supposed to be extremely nutritious, with fat and cholesterol content being much lower than in any other red meat. Emu meat has less fat content, it is easily digestible, very tasty and hence it serves as a very good alternative for mutton and chicken. Its meat which is 97 to 98% fats free. Emu meat is rich in proteins; it contains plenty of iron, Vitamin B-12, hence as the modern research shows ’emu meat is an excellent diet for people suffering from heart–ailments. Some of the Characteristics and Benefits of EMU meat are as follows.
- More protein
- Much less fat than any meat
- Less saturated fat
- Low cholesterol levels
- More iron
- Less sodium
- More of the Vitamins A, B6, Folic Acid, B12, D, & E
Emu is an economical buy; you are buying meat, not fat, skin or bone. The tenderness and texture of emu meat enable it to be prepared in a variety of ways. Emu requires shorter cooking times and lower temperatures. It is best prepared lightly grilled, pan fried, or sauted. Also Emu meat is low fat meat accepts most seasoning meat respond well to sweet marinades made with honey, soya sauce, ginger, lemon juice & garlic. There can be variety of dishes can be prepared from Emu meat like Emu Kebabs, Emu Roast, Emu Burgers & Sandwiches and Emu grilled steaks.
Protein Needs for Athletes and Bodybuilders
Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise and to help optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. Protein isn’t an ideal source of fuel for exercise, but can be used when the diet lacks adequate carbohydrate. This is detrimental, though, because if used for fuel, there isn’t enough available to repair and rebuild body tissues, including muscle.
Delivering your body a constant supply of protein throughout the entire day is essential for optimum muscle growth. Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of your muscles and body. Without them, it would be impossible to build, repair or even maintain muscle tissue.
Having a sufficient amount of protein will put you in a positive nitrogen balance, or an anabolic state. Being in an anabolic state will allow you to build muscle. On the contrast, if you have a negative nitrogen balance you will be in a catabolic state. Your body actually fuels itself by breaking down your hard earned muscle for energy. So it is extremely important to get an ample amount of protein intake.
It had been found that consuming approximately 30-40 g of protein each meal throughout the day allows for complete recovery between workouts. This will ensure you have an adequate supply of protein without consuming a surplus of calories. Further, you will be an anabolic state all day long.
Recommended Daily Allowance For Protein Intake
- The average adult needs 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Strength training athletes need about 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Endurance athletes need about 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Bodybuilders need about 1.5-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Above RDA for protein mentioned can be varied according to the intensity of their work outs.
So why Athletes and body-builders should consider emu meat as the meat of their choice, to meet its daily protein requirement?
Emu meat is an excellent good source of High biological value (HBV) protein and complete protein. Also it is very easy to separate fats from the emu meat so that one can avoid its consumption. So we can say that Emu meat is a lean meat with minimal fats in it. But why we require Lean and HBV protein in our diet? It is explained as follows.
Proteins in our diet is required for maintenance (replacing the wear and tear in tissue) of the body. A lack of protein in the diet can lead to growth loss, weakening of the muscles, heart and respiratory system, decreased immunity and death. On the other hand excessive amount of protein in your diet can lead to osteoporosis, and some kidney diseases. Also excessive protein consumption particularly animal protein can lead to stroke and some heart diseases because usually animal food sources provide tremendous amounts of fats along with proteins. So it is important that one should restrict their diet on high fat containing animal food sources. Also the actual amount of protein to be consumed daily to maintain optimum health will depend upon the quality of dietary protein. The higher the quality, lower the requirement and vice versa.
In conclusion, find protein sources that are complete with all the essential amino acids. Consume 30-40 g of protein every 2-3 hours throughout the day so you are in a positive nitrogen balance and anabolic state. As one 3-ounce serving of emu meat provides 23 grams of protein, we can say that Emu meat can be considered as the ideal source of protein for athletes and body builders. As mentioned earlier, Emu meat is low in fats and contains HBV protein. It is different from other meats like Beef, Lamb etc which are high fat containing meats. So, the athletes and bodybuilders should include Emu meat in their diet because by reducing the size of the serving and still maintaining the protein levels, they can reduce their fat and cholesterol intakes significantly.
Emu meat contains low sodium as compared to other meats. Sodium is an element that is found in many foods as well as water. The body requires a small amount of sodium in the diet to control blood pressure and blood volume. However, most people consume many times the amount of sodium needed. So people with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart problems can benefit by consuming food like Emu meat that is low in sodium.
Red meat in general is a rich source of iron and Emu meat is the richest source of iron among Beef, Lamb and Chicken meats. But people avoid consumption of red meat to fulfill its daily iron requirements because red meats in general contain high amounts of fats. But this is not case with Emu meat which is a lean meat contains very less amounts of fats in it. But why iron is required in our daily diet. Iron is a mineral essential for life. It is present in every living cell and is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, myoglobin, and certain enzymes. One of the major benefits of iron is it increases energy. Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency are lethargy, fatigue, paleness and Anemia. It will also affect the ability to focus and to fight infections. Brittle hair and constant dizziness may also indicate a lack of iron in blood. So to avoid this symptoms, one can get the benefits of iron by ensuring that one gets enough of iron from animal foods, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Iron obtain from animals is called haem iron and is easily absorbed compared to non haem iron that is obtained from plant products. Emu meat is an excellent animal source food of iron. Emu meat’s iron content is about twice as high as in other meats. One serving of emu meat provides about 25% of the iron needed each day.
Emu meat is a good source of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic acid as compared to other meats. Vitamins B6 and B12 help the body to use folic acid and are vital nutrients in a range of activities such as cell repair, digestion, the production of energy and in the immune system. Vitamin B12 is also needed for the breakdown of fat and carbohydrate. Deficiency of either vitamin will result in anemia. Folic acid works closely in the body with vitamin B12. It is vital for the production of healthy blood cells. Lack of folic acid is one of the main causes of anemia, particularly in people whose diet is generally poor. By regularly eating emu meat, in combination with a broad variety of foods naturally rich in whole food vitamins such as dairy, whole grains, rich fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, daily iron and vitamin needs will be easily met even during the heaviest training and competition periods.
In summary, emu meat has a number of health benefits for the sedentary adult and offers performance benefits to the athlete. The nutritional profile of emu meat is superior to that of other meats in many important categories and should be considered the athlete’s choice when selecting a nutritious, complete protein source.
Article by Dr Abhijit Mhatre