Featured Food: Venison

My grandson Gavin, master hunter

Like I said earlier this week, it is deer season in Indiana, so what better featured food than venison! If you have the chance to add venison to your diet, you’ll definitely want to after this. Venison used to have a reputation as the poor man’s meat, eaten hunter’s in the MidWest, but now is actually considered somewhat of a delicacy found in high-class restaurants. It’s hard to find in the US because of USDA inspections, so most of what you find comes from New Zealand and is sold at high-end grocers.  I had to laugh that farm raising deer was actually becoming popular (what a joke!) Like I said before, though, I’ve been an avid hunter since I was young, so obtaining venison is not a challenge for me. Why the growing popularity in venison? Well, what most people like is that it is a very good source of protein, yet it’s lower in fat and calories than other meat sources. There is so much more that make this meat special! It is a very good source of iron, the is well-absorbed for fewer calories and fat. This is an important component of hemoglobin and the transport of oxygen from the lungs to all of the body and a key part of enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. One of the best things about venison is its concentration of B vitamins. One 4 oz serving has 60% of B12, 40% of riboflavin, 38% of niacin, and 21.5% of the recommended intake of B6. B12 and B6 help to prevent the buildup of homocysteine (damages blood vessels, contributes to development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, increases risk of  heart attack or stroke, and associated with osteoporosis. Riboflavin is essential for energy production in 2 ways.

  1. attached to protein enzymes (flavoproteins) that allow oxygen-based energy production (in locations like the heart and muscles, where constant oxygen supply is needed).
  2. Protection. Oxygen molecules can be highly reactive and inadvertently damage mitochondria. Glutathione must be constantly recycled to prevent this, and it is B2 (riboflavin) that allows for recycling.

Niacin can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, by as much as half. Two forms of niacin are essential in the conversion of micronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) into usable energy. There are so many ways to fix it too! Make steaks, roasts, sausages, or jerky. Recipes coming Saturday.

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