The Many Health Benefits of Bison: Part 2 – Protein
Last week we debuted part one of our four-part series highlighting the nutritional benefits of bison meat. We focused specifically on one main question, “Why is bison better for you than beef?” In case you missed it, you can catch up here.
This week, we’ll focus on the extraordinarily high amounts of protein found in bison in relation to how lean and low in calories it is. Ready? Let’s go!
Why is protein so important?
From building muscles and repairing cells to improving brain functions and providing the body with energy, protein is essential too much every single cellular function in your body. Here’s how the FDA breaks down some of protein’s most important functions:
- Protein provides the body with calories, which is converted into energy, allowing you to lift those heavy weights in the gym or sprint for the ice cream truck
- Protein is essential to every living cell in the human body and is important for growth and development – especially during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy
- Protein is the basic building block for hormones, enzymes, and cells
- Protein helps your body build and repair cells and body tissue
- Protein is a major component of skin, hair, nails, muscle, bone and internal organs
- Protein helps improve overall brain function, increase alertness and boost performance
Like we said, protein handles pretty much everything in your body. But how much protein do you need on a daily basis? Good question.
How much protein do I need?
Well, like most dietary things, how much protein you need depends on a few factors like sex, age, and level of physical activity. Men need roughly 6 ounces of protein per day, while women should consume an average of 5 ounces per day.
Pregnant women should increase their protein intake by at least 25 grams, especially in the second and third trimesters since protein becomes part of the fetus’ structural development including the placenta (Joy and Bauer, 2016, 246).
If you’re hitting the gym a lot or are in training for a big event like a marathon or competition, you should definitely up your protein intake. Protein helps maintain and build additional muscle mass as well as help your muscles recover post-workout. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes need about 1-2 grams of protein per kg of body weight, depending on their level of physical activity. But before you chug a chalky protein shake (which can be hard for the body to digest), try getting your post-workout protein fix from a lean food source like our tasty bison jerky.
Not sure if you’re hitting your daily protein quota? Don’t panic, odds are you’re getting more than enough. The average American reaches their daily adequate amount of protein, but the USDA notes most Americans need to make leaner and more varied selections of protein sources.
Bison meat as a source of protein
You’ve probably already figured out where we’re going with this but one of the most beneficial sources of protein comes from 100% grassfed bison (and other red meats). In fact, bison meat is actually considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids our bodies need, yet cannot produce on our own. Other examples of complete proteins include eggs, poultry, beef, and seafood. And while it’s great to have options, when directly compared with beef, bison is more nutrient dense. Check this out:
3 ounces grassfed bison = 21.63 grams of protein
3 ounces beef = 15.6 grams of protein
To make another comparison, you’d have to eat 4 whole eggs to get the same amount of protein as the 3-ounce serving of bison. Bison also has fewer calories and fat than both the beef and the eggs – not to mention higher levels of iron, omega-3s, and CLAs.
Now that grilling season is here, it’s a great time to swap out your usual beef with one of our delicious bison steaks like the classic New York Strip Steak! Before you fire up the grill, check out our top tips for cooking bison here and be sure to come back next week for Part 3 of the series – Omega-3s!