Health Benefits of Wild Game
If you are a hunter, chances are that you love to eat the fruits of your hunt. While many people like the flavor of wild game, there are other unseen advantages to replacing the grocery store meats in your diet with wild game.
Over a century ago, the Native Americans of the Great Plains experienced incredibly healthy lifestyles. In his book The Dakota Diet: Health Secrets from the Great Plains, Dr. Kevin Weiland describes the amazing health and vitality of these people groups in the 19th century. One of the measures of health that researchers often use is the average height of people in a civilization. The average Native American stood around five feet eight inches in height. This stature was taller than the average American of European descent as well as Europeans who still lived on the European continent. One major reason for the Indians’ great health was likely their diets. A large component of the Native American diet consisted of wild game.
Wild Game—Better than Commercial Meat
The average modern-day American consumes meat that originated in a commercial feedlot. In these operations, the cattle are warehoused en-masse. Of course, when you have so many animals in one area, sickness is bound to be an issue. To ward off illness, these animals are given antibiotic laced feed. To help them reach slaughter-weight more quickly, they are often given growth hormones to speed up their weight gain. These animals are not fed what a typical ruminant’s diet ought to be. They are given copious amounts of grain to fill them out quickly so that they can be slaughtered. Because the cattle do not have access to pasture, the meat lacks many vitamins that are present in wild game and grass-fed meat.
The meat from an animal is only going to be as good as the food that it consumes. Therefore, meat from wild game that eats a variety of natural foods is healthier than commercially raised meat. An animal that eats a diet that is mostly grass contains a greater variety of vitamins stored in its muscle tissue than animals raised on grain.
Omega 3 fatty acids are often called “good fats” by nutritionists, doctors and scientists. These fats are good for the heart and the entire circulatory system. People who have high levels of omega 3’s in their diets are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack. These fats are found in salmon and tuna, as well as certain nuts and seeds. But did you know that meat from wild game has copious amounts of omega 3 acids in it? Game meat contains a specific type of omega 3 that is most often found in fish oil. Scientists believe that this type of fatty acid wards off artherosclerosis, the most common cause of heart attack and stroke.
Scientists are learning much about the benefits of these omega 3 acids. Eating meat from wild game that is rich in omega 3’s will improve your heart health and can possibly ward off Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Some studies are indicating that these acids can aid in healing from surgeries and slow the growth and spread of particular types of cancers. These compounds play vital roles in every cell of the human body, and wild game meats are loaded with them.
Low Fat, Low Calorie
Because a wild animal spends most of its life running, jumping and eating natural foods, venison, elk, moose, wild turkey and other game meats are lower in fat than commercial poultry, pork and beef. Consider that three ounces of venison contains only three grams of fat, while commercially raised beef contains eighteen grams of fat. The same serving of venison contains only one gram of saturated fat (the bad-for-you type of fat) versus the seven grams of saturated fat that beef contains.
Wild game meats are not only lower in fat than commercially raised meat, but they are also lower in calories per ounce. In a three ounce serving, venison has 134 calories, while pork has 214 calories and beef has 259 calories. Because of this, you can consume more venison without consuming more calories. These numbers mean that making wild game meat a part of your regular diet can help you lose weight, even though you may still include the same amount of meat in your diet.
Wild game meats are loaded with many other beneficial nutrients. These meats are higher in protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins than commercial meats. With so many people in the United States living on mostly processed foods, many folks are experiencing vitamin deficiencies. By including wild game meat as a part of your diet, you can help eliminate vitamin deficiencies and enjoy better health.
What Wild Game Meats Do Not Have
While wild game meats are loaded with many good things, by adding wild game to your diet you will not be consuming some potentially harmful things that are found in commercially raised meats. Although the United States Food and Drug Administration says that the growth hormones used in commercial cattle and pigs are safe for human consumption, many people are beginning to think twice about this. Some are wondering whether hormone residues in meats are causing certain types of cancer and leading to environmental pollution. While there is little hard data on this, many people prefer to eat food that is created in the most natural ways possible. What could be more natural than an animal spending its entire life in the wild before it is harvested for food?
Wild game meats do not have the antibiotic residues in them that commercial meats may have. The over use of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If meat is contaminated with these bacteria and you fail to kill it in cooking, you could become gravely ill and the antibiotics that your doctor prescribes may be ineffective.
By consuming wild game meats you will be eating neither growth hormones nor antibiotics. Your food will be as close to natural as possible. People pay a premium for grass-fed meat at organic stores. By eating wild game you will be consuming the same quality of meat without the high price tag. If you consider that organic, grass-fed beef can cost up to $26.00 a pound, you can see that getting natural meat through hunting makes good economic sense.
Over a century later, scientists are learning that the wild game-based diets of the Great Plains Indians were more healthful than those of modern Americans. Although society seems to have come a long way in technology, it appears that, for the human body, looking back to the ways of life of past civilizations may provide the keys to good health. Wild game was an essential part of past civilizations’ vitality. Perhaps modern Americans should learn from the past and make wild game meat a more prevalent part of their diets.