Benefits of Elk Meat Nutrition

November 09, 2021

Benefits of Elk Meat

Benefits of Elk Meat Nutrition

Elk meat may not be apart of your family's weekly dinner, but maybe it should. Not only is it incredibly delicious, versatile, and full of vitamins and minerals, it also contains more protein than beef and about half the calories. In this article we will discuss the benefits of elk meat, different elk meat recipes, and why this game meat is truly a powerhouse of nutrition. 

Is Elk Meat Healthy? Elk Meat Nutrition Facts

Elk meat is an incredibly nutrient-dense meat that is low in calories and contains a significant amount of protein as well as key vitamins and minerals. One three-ounce portion of cooked elk meat contains the following: 

  • Calories: 164 
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Protein: 23 grams
  • Fat: 7.4 grams
  • Zinc: 37% of the RDI (recommended dietary intake) 
  • Vitamin B12: 36% of the RDI 
  • Niacin: 23% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 19% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI
  • Iron: 16% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 11% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 5% of the RDI 

Small amounts of vitamin E, folate, and calcium can also be found in elk meat. 

Elk Meat Benefits 

There are many benefits that come with eating elk meat. This includes: 

1. High in protein 

2. Promotes immune system health

3. Boosts brain health

4. Strengthens bones

5. Aids in weight loss

6. Helps prevent anemia 

1. High in protein 

Elk meat is a terrific source of high-quality protein. In fact, based on a three-ounce serving, ground elk nutrition facts are very similar to other healthy protein sources like chicken and turkey. 

Protein is a vital component for many aspects of health. Your body needs it to build and repair tissues, produce enzymes and hormones, and also form the foundation of your skin, muscles, and bones. 

2. Promotes Immune System Health 

Elk meat is an excellent source of zincEven though it is the second-most abundant trace mineral (after iron) in the body and is present in every single cell, it is probably most well-known for strengthening the immune system. In fact, because zinc is needed for immune system function and cell signaling a deficiency in zinc may lead to a weakened immune response. 

For example, an analysis of seven different studies found that 80-92 mg of zinc per day can reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%. 

3. Boosts Brain Health

Research shows that there is a clear link between the food you consume and your ability to focus and remember things. Meaning, both your cognitive abilities and mental health are directly influenced by what you put on your plate.  

Many of the nutrients that have been shown to impact brain health can thankfully be found in elk meat. For example, vitamin B12 has been shown to contribute to memory and learning. Additionally, low levels of both niacin and vitamin B6 may be associated with depression and age-related cognitive decline. Consuming more of these B vitamins through dietary intake or supplementation may aid in improving mental health and memory.

4. Strengthens Bones 

As you age your bones begin to thin and weaken. Conditions like osteoporosis can significantly increase the risk of fractures and may create changes in posture due to bone loss. L-methionine is an essential amino acid that helps keep bones strong. Elk meat is high in L-methionine. Research shows that L-methionine paired with endurance exercise decreased bone mass but helped enhance bone strength. 

Phosphorus, another nutrient that is important for bone health can be found in elk meat. Around 85 percent of phosphorus can be found in the bones and teeth. A 2015 study concluded that phosphorus intake was associated with increased both mineral content, bone mass density, and a lower risk of fractures.  

5. Aids In Weight Loss

Elk meat makes a great addition to any weight loss diet because of its high protein content (23 grams), low calories (164), and low fat content. Protein, in particular has been shown to help satisfy hunger and may help you fight off those incessant cravings. 

One study conducted out of the Netherlands found that eating a high-protein breakfast reduced levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin to a much greater extent than a high-carb breakfast did.

6. Helps Prevent Anemia 

Anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. Symptoms can include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Faster heartbeat

The most common types of anemia are caused by nutrient deficiencies. Elk meat is high in several vitamins and minerals that contribute to red blood cell production like vitamin B12 and iron. 

What's Healthier? Elk Meat or Beef

Gram for gram, pound for pound elk meat is much healthier than beef. It contains about half the calories, slightly more protein, and significantly less fat. Not only that, however, but it is also higher in important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, zinc, and iron. 

How Does The Taste of Elk and Beef Compare? 

The general taste consensus is that elk is slightly more tender, more tasteful, and comes with a distinct taste compared to beef. As one might expect it's described as slightly sweet without the "gamey" taste.  

Elk Meat vs Bison Meat

Bison meat is another type of red meat that is often substituted for beef. There are similarities between bison and elk when it comes to nutrition facts but there also are some differences too. For example, elk meat is slightly lower in calories and fat and contains a higher amount of protein but both meats are good sources of micronutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. 

Elk Meat vs Lamb Meat

Lamb meat is a type of red meat produced from sheep that are less than one year of age. Lamb meat is perhaps the most similar to elk meat in terms of nutrients. It has a sweet and fresh flavor that can be used in multiple types of dishes. 

Buying Elk Meat

Depending on where you live elk meat may or may not be sitting on the shelf of your neighborhood grocery store. Nonetheless, there are plenty of suppliers that have it on hand or can special order it for you. Farms and specialty butcher shops usually have on hand hard-to-find types of meat like elk. They may also have rabbit, duck, and deer. It is always best to buy from a trusted and reliable source and if possible, opt for grass-fed elk that is free of antibiotics and hormones to ensure you are getting the highest quality of meat. 

Recipes With Elk Meat

Elk can be used instead of other read meats in your favorite go-to recipes. It's tender and tasteful and has much more flavor compared to other meats. It's also leaner. Unfortunately, this means that it can get dried out and overcooked rather easily if you're not paying close attention. It is best to cook it slow and at a steady temperature to retain maximum moisture. 

Recipes Using Elk Meat and elk meat nutrition

Some of the most common and delicious recipes with elk meat include: 

  • Ground elk in chili
  • Elk burgers 
  • Savory elk steak
  • Spaghetti and meatballs using ground elk meat

Benefits of Elk Meat Nutrition Summary

Elk meat is an incredibly nutrient-dense meat that is low in calories and contains a significant amount of protein as well as key vitamins and minerals. It is high in protein and also: 

  • Promotes immune system health
  • Boosts brain health
  • Strengthens bones
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Helps prevent anemia

Pound for pound elk meat is much healthier than beef. It contains slightly more protein, significantly less fat, and about half the calories. Elk meat is also higher in important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, zinc, and iron. 

How To Buy Elk Meat

Depending on where you live elk meat may or may not be sitting on the shelf of your neighborhood grocery store. Nonetheless, there are plenty of suppliers that have it on hand or can special order it for you. 

Elk can be used instead of other read meats in your favorite go-to recipes. It's tender and tasteful and has much more flavor compared to other meats.



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