What are the health benefits of elk meat? What’s the difference between elk meat and regular meat?
In this article:
- Nutrition of elk meat
- Elk meat health benefits
- Elk vs. beef nutrition
- Elk vs. chicken nutrition
Elk meat might not be as popular as the meat you typically find in the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eating it. This meat is jam-packed with quality protein while being low in fat. It also provides a number of essential vitamins and nutrients that are vital for proper health.
Elk meat only has a fifth the fat of regular beef while being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and other beneficial fats that help improve weight loss, muscle mass, and cardiovascular health.
Not only is elk meat good for you, but it can be used in place of beef for just about any recipe.
So what’s the nutrition label look like on elk meat, how can you use it, where can you buy it, and what are the overall health benefits? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know and more about this healthy and nutritious game meat.
Elk Meat Nutrition
Elk meat is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals while providing a healthy dose of protein and healthy fats. The main nutrients you can find in this game meat include zinc, vitamin B12, niacin and vitamin B6.
A three-ounce serving of elk meat contains [*]:
- Calories: 164
- Carbs: 0
- Protein: 22.6 grams
- Fat: 7.4 grams
- Zinc: 37% Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B12: 36% DV
- Niacin: 23% DV
- Phosphorus: 19% DV
- Vitamin B6: 18% DV
- Riboflavin: 16% DV
- Iron: 16% DV
- Selenium: 11% DV
- Potassium: 9% DV
- Panthothenic Acid: 9% DV
- Thiamine: 7% DV
- Copper: 6% DV
- Magnesium: 5% DV
Elk Meat Health Benefits
Its nutritional value isn’t the only benefit this game meat offers. Elk meat provides a number of different health benefits. What are some of these benefits?
1. A Good Source of Protein
Protein plays a critical role in the body.
Protein is an important factor in all aspects of your health. Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues, produce enzymes and hormones, and form the foundation of your muscles, skin and bones. In fact, being deficient in this key macronutrient can lead to an increase in appetite and increase risk of infection or disease.
What are some key roles of protein?
- Repair different parts of the body: Protein is the foundation of your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin and hair. It’s essential that these tissues need to be continuously repaired and replaced with new protein.
- Hormones: Hormones are a type of protein, believe it or not. They are chemical messenger proteins that allow different cells throughout your body to communicate with one another.
- Enzymes: Enzymes are catalysts that bring about a specific reaction from different chemicals and cells in the body. Most enzymes are proteins, and the different reactions that take place throughout your body are driven by them[*].
- Transportation and storage: Some proteins deliver messages to different cells while other proteins help deliver different molecules to different parts of the body. Interestingly enough, protein transporters are very specific. This mean certain protein transporters will only bind to specific substances[*].
Elk meat provides a whopping 23 grams of protein per each 3 ounce serving. Eating one serving of elk meat in your day can help you reach your protein needs.
2. Helps Improve Weight Loss
The protein from elk meat provides key health benefits, but can it help aid in weight loss, too? The research says yes. Increasing your protein intake may have a positive effect on your appetite, metabolic rate, weight, and body composition[*].
The protein from elk meat increases the production of PYY and GLP-1, hormones that help you feel full and satiated. Protein also helps reduce levels of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone”[*]. The less ghrelin we have, the less likely we are to eat when we’re not hungry.
One study examined 65 obese women. Over the course of 6 months, the high-protein group lost an average of 43% more fat than the high-carb group. In fact, 35% of women in the high-protein group lost at least 22 pounds[*].
3. Promotes a Healthy Immune System
One of the key minerals elk meat provides is zinc. Zinc acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. But what are free radicals? These are unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body.
Research has shown that there’s a protein that lures zinc into cells that are first-responders against infection. From there, zinc contributes to processes that are vital in helping fight against infection, balancing the immune response[*].
4. Improves Cognitive Health
Can elk meat improve your brain health? Studies say yes. Many of the nutrients found in elk meat have been shown to improve cognitive function. For example, vitamin B12 helps with memory and learning[*].
In fact, one study found that vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to poor memory performance. Supplementing with this vitamin could improve memory, even if there’s no clinical diagnosis[*].
Elk vs. Beef Nutrition
Oftentimes elk meat is easily interchangeable with beef. But how does it compare from a nutritional standpoint?
For starters, elk meat is much leaner than beef and contains about half the calories of beef. This makes it a great option for individuals looking to gain the benefits of beef without the high fat intake.
Regardless of how sophisticated your palette may be, chances are you’ll be able to tell if you’re eating elk meat vs. beef.
How does elk compare to beef when it comes to taste? While the flavor of these two meats is similar, elk meat is known to be a bit sweeter without the gamey taste you’d typically expect.
Elk vs. Chicken Nutrition
The main differences between elk meat and chicken can be found in the way they taste. Elk meat still has a sweeter, juicier taste compared to chicken, however they’re both rather lean.
A three-ounce serving of elk meat contains around[*]:
- Calories: 164
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Protein: 22 grams
- Fat: 7 grams
A three-ounce serving of baked chicken breast contains around[*]:
- Calories: 130
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Protein: 24 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
Elk Meat: The Takeaway
Elk meat is a great option if you’re looking to swap out your beef. This game meat can be easily substituted for a number of different recipes without the added fat content.
This meat provides a number of essential vitamins and minerals including zinc, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus.
Elk meat is a type of game meat that can be easily substituted for beef in many recipes, from stews to sandwiches and more. Elk meat nutrition is low in calories and fat but high in protein and several micronutrients, including zinc, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.
Steph Lodge is a writer, competitive weightlifter and nutritional consultant with a passion for health and wellness. She is the founder of The Athlete’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to providing its audience with articles, recipes and the latest nutritional information on their favorite foods.