Ostrich Meat Health Benefits

Ostrich meat is recommended by medical practitioners and dieticians as an alternative to beef and lamb, and is often referred to as “the Healthiest red meat available”. Ostrich meat is lower in kilojoules, saturated fats and cholesterol than Chicken and turkey.  This, as well as the high iron content of ostrich meat will greatly benefit people with an active lifestyle. There are so many good reasons to be eating Ostrich meat, so don’t get caught up in all the media hype about South African Ostrich meat being potential harmful for human Consumption.

The ban on Ostrich meat products is self imposed, Piet Kleyn the interim chief of the SA Ostrich Business Chamber says” It’s ironic and frustrating. The meat that we are not allowed to export is perfectly safe and can be sold into the domestic market. It is very small though and wherever we could, we’ve been trying to campaign and lobby”

Even the Western Cape Agriculture Department said ostrich meat being sold in restaurants and supermarkets is perfectly safe to eat and all meat is stringently tested to AU standards during the entire slaughtering process.

Why is Ostrich Meat so Healthy?

Ostrich meat

Well, although Ostriches have fat, it collects outside the muscles and is easily removed during processing; the cuts of meat are therefore very lean with a very low fat content. Ostrich meat is an ideal Protein source that’s approved by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and as a meat loving nation isn’t it wonderful to still enjoy your steak on the braai without all the hidden fat and cholesterol!

If you’re serious about building/maintaining muscle, then Ostrich meat SHOULD be part of your daily diet as it’s packed with Protein, tons of phosphorous, potassium, iron and natural Creatine.

Due to the ostrich’s ideal pH balance, the meat does not attract harmful bacteria like E-coli or salmonella, unlike chicken and other meats, so it’s ideal for sushi and Carpaccio.

Our biggest local producer Klein Karoo International’s farm-to-fork traceability system ensures that raw ostrich meat does not carry any known allergens; however products such as ostrich sausage, droëwors and steak burgers do contain gluten. Their ostrich meat products are also free from hormones and growth stimulants.

What the Research Says

Ostrich meat is extremely lean, with low levels of intramuscular fat (2.3% in average), and most of it, approximately 2/3, consists of easily digestible unsaturated fat (Sales, 1996; Paleari et al., 1998; Matosses, 1999).

Ostrich meat has lower levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) as compared to other meats (Horbanczuk et al., 1998; Paleari et al., 1998; Sales, 1998; Raes et al.,2003).

Oleic acid (C18:1) is the most abundant fatty acid in ostrich meat, followed by palmitic acid (C16:0) and linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) (Sales, 1994; Horbanczuk et al., 1998; Paleari et al., 1998; Sales, 1998; Hoffman & Fisher, 2001).

The average mineral level of 1.29% in ostrich meat is optimal from the nutritional point of view, and it is higher than in chicken meat (1.17%) (Balog et al., 2006b). Iron content does not vary among ostrich muscles, but the observed values (12.25mg/100g edible matter, in average) are high as compared to other meats (Sales, 1996; Budaxé, 2003; Balog et al., 2006b).

Protein levels are high in ostrich meat, of about 28% in average, and the most frequent amino acid is creatine (Sales & Hayes, 1996).

In plain English Ostrich Meat is

• Low in cholesterol – Just 60 mg g per 100 g meat

• Low in fat – Only 1.4 g per 100 g meat

• Low in kilojoules – Only 377 kJ per 100 g meat

• Low in collagen – Most digestible red meat

• Rich in protein – A high 22% per 100 g meat

• Rich in iron – A high 3, 2 mg per 100 g meat

From a purely health point of view ostrich meat definitely has muscle building benefits with its high protein, mineral and Creatine content. The natural occurring fatty acids also assist in weight loss (Linoleic acid), lowering bad cholesterol (Oleic Acid) and assisting the body in functioning optimally (Iron & potassium).

We’ve also added some cooking instructions and check out our recipe section for some yummy ways to prepare your ostrich meat. Enjoy!

Ostrich Meat Cooking Instructions