Game on! - What makes venison a healthy, nutritious choice?
Healthy, local, quality foods are increasingly desirable to consumers. Scottish venison fits well with this, and the demand for venison has been increasing at around 10% year on year (Scottish Venison Partnership, 2016).
Venison is an extremely lean meat, low in fat and saturated fat, high in protein and packed with vitamins and minerals. This versatile meat, which is full of favour, can be used in a variety of recipes. You can roast it, stew it, stir fry it, or use minced venison for Bolognaise, burgers or sausages. Here’s the nutrition low-down:
Fat and Saturated Fat
Venison is a very low fat meat with 1.6g of fat in 100g of venison. This compares to 1.1g in the same amount of chicken and 4.3g in beef. Venison is also low in saturated fat, which is great as a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood and increase risk of heart disease.
Protein is required for growth and repair of body tissues and can help with recovery and performance, so it’s a key nutrient for teenagers and those who are training hard. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient which means it makes us feel fuller for longer - great for those looking to lose or maintain body weight. Consuming foods high in protein can also be beneficial for older adults as we tend to lose muscle mass and strength as we age.
Table: Calorie, fat, saturated fat and protein content of selected meats.
Venison is packed with a variety of highly bioavailable nutrients including iron, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Low levels of iron are common among teenage girls and adult women with almost half of teenage girls and almost a quarter of adult women in the UK having low levels of iron (PHE and FSA, 2014). This can result in symptoms of fatigue, poor immunity and poor cognitive function. Venison has even more iron than beef, lamb or pork, so it’s very useful to help boost intake.
All in all, venison is a lean, high protein, nutrient dense food to include in a healthy varied diet. Wishing you a happy Scottish Venison Day on September the 4th!
Scottish Venison Partnership (2016) http://www.scottish-venison.info
Nutrition data from McCance & Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/composition-of-foods-integrated-dataset-cofid
Public Health England and Food Standards Agency (PHE and FSA) (2014) National Diet and Nutrition Survey: results from Years 1 to 4 (combined) of the rolling programme for 2008 and 2009 to 20011 and 2012. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey-results-from-years-1-to-4-combined-of-the-rolling-programme-for-2008-and-2009-to-2011-and-2012