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Are sausages healthy for you?

plate with cooked sausages

Is Sausage Healthy to Eat?

The deeply satisfying taste and texture of sausage meat is hard to beat. We reach for that freshly grilled Bratwurst to place upon a bun beside some chips at the local block party. Or maybe we grab a banger out of the pan to slather in maple syrup. The perfect side-dish to pancakes! Any way we prepare them, sausages are simply hard to resist.

After finishing a meal of sausages it’s common to feel guilty. Is there a good reason for this feeling or has society become obsessed with foods that aren’t actually that bad?

Let’s start straight off by stating that sausages are no healthy food. We would never endorse heavy consumption of this protein.

That being said, with roots that date back to Ancient Sumerian times, sausage-making has been a popular food choice for centuries. They were traditionally made of various types of ground meat with a casing around it. Sausage making was created as a way to use up all the bits and pieces to avoid food wastage.

With such a long history of eating sausages, did our predecessors have it wrong? Or is sausage healthy to eat? We’ll take a closer look at this question in the article.

Are we too obsessed with the numbers?

In our modern tech-savvy culture, we track every step we take and monitor every morsel we consume. The physical health of our bodies is hugely important to many of us, as a temple of ancient origins. Those on a healthy eating regime shy away from foods that may be harmful to their bodies, even in small quantities. Often, we deny ourselves the pleasure of enjoying delicious food in moderation. The sole focus is on the nutritional label.

Is it possible for the notorious sausage to fit into a healthy modern diet? Absolutely!

Sausages contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals that are part of maintaining a healthy diet. A ½ cup of Chorizo sausage contains 13.6 grams of protein, 25.1 grams of Total Fat, 19 mg of Calcium, 1.41 mg of Iron, 20 mg of Magnesium, 308 mg of Potassium, 1.6 mg of Zinc, 5.4 mg of Niacin, 788 mg of Sodium as well as other vitamins and minerals in lesser quantities.

The nutritional panel isn’t all bad for sausage.

With no sugar or carbohydrates, they make a good choice for a person with diabetes or other health restrictions. No matter what diet you follow, a sausage of some type can fit into your daily meals, when eaten in moderation.

Varieties are endless, from Bratwurst, Chorizo, Andouille, Kielbasa, and Italian, and the famous breakfast link, to name just a few. But while sausage does have health benefits, it also can have a downside. Fat and salt.

Down below we are listing five reasons why sausages are good for you.

1. High in protein

The traditional pork sausage is packed with protein, containing on average 11g each. The benefits of protein are well documented for maintaining and building lean muscle mass and improving tissue health. Whether you are looking to bulk up on muscle mass, or slim down, protein is vital!

2. Helps keep your blood healthy

Sausages provide high levels of Vitamin B-12 and Iron, both of which are essential for healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin production. On top of this, B-12 helps you metabolize both fats and protein! Each sausage provides around a third of your RDA.

3. Keeps you looking healthy

If only there was the food that could help your skin, hair, and eyes looking healthier? Oh wait, there is! Sausage contains over 40% of your RDA for Niacin, which is essential for helping you look good!

4. Fends off a hangover

Ever wondered why a cooked breakfast makes you feel so much better after one too many the night before? It’s because sausages contain high levels of Phosphorus- which is important for maintaining kidney function, as well as building strong bones and teeth!

5. Stops you getting ill

Pork contains plenty of selenium, a nutrient that is vital to your health. It helps with thyroid health, boosts your immune system, and can reduce your risk of heart disease. Including some selenium-rich foods into your diet is a great way to help maintain good health!

Sausages can get a bad rap, but with these fantastic health benefits, they should definitely have a regular spot in your fridge!

Conclusion

While sausage may be the good, bad, and sometimes the ugly of healthy options, we must remember the choices are in our hands. What we select, how we prepare it, and how much we eat of it, are the best solutions to satisfying our palette and keeping our bodies healthy.

Making your own sausage is an excellent strategy for controlling the nutritional elements. By grinding your own meat you can make a 90:10 meat to fat ratio for a lovely lean sausage. This is a much better option than buying the cheap, fatty sausages at your local store.

With a little moderation, we should be able to follow in our ancestor’s footsteps and enjoy sausages without becoming overwhelmed by guilt. The next time you think of preparing a picnic, dinner party, or your family meal, don’t overlook sausages. Make them the star and tailor the rest of the meal around it, wisely. Ancient civilizations and cultures around the world couldn’t be wrong.

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Why you need to consider eating lamb meat more often

chops of lamb covered with rosemary

Lamb is a common type of red meat.

Due to its impressive nutrition profile, it is perhaps the healthiest commonly available meat.

This article will analyze the complete nutritional values of lamb.

Additionally, we will examine the science-backed health benefits of lamb to show why it is one of the healthiest foods around.

When we think about omega-3 fats and their availability from plants versus animals, we usually think about nuts and seeds on the plant side of things and fish on the animal side. But on the animal side of things, we should also think about grass-fed lamb! The omega-3 content of lamb depends upon the young sheep’s diet as well as the mother’s diet, but when those diets are nutritionally supportive, the result can be a cut of lamb with an impressive amount of omega-3s. In regions of some countries without access to a coastline and fish, lamb has sometimes been shown to provide more omega-3s than any other food in the diet. In Australia, where lamb is eaten frequently by both children and adults, recent studies have shown lamb to rank among the top omega-3 foods in the daily diet. Grass-fed lamb has been shown to average at least 25% more omega-3s than conventionally fed lamb, including as much as 49% more ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, the basic building block for omega-3s). In our own nutritional profile of grass-fed lamb, we use a conservative average estimate of 40 milligrams of omega-3s per ounce of roasted lamb loin. That’s 50% of the omega-3s in an ounce of baked codfish or broiled tuna, and 67% of the amount in an ounce of sesame seeds.

10 Health Benefits of Lamb Meat

Aside from the nutrient profile, lamb has many other nutritional benefits.

Here are ten good reasons to eat lamb.

1. Lamb Contains L-Carnosine

 

L-Carnosine is a compound that contains two amino acids (proteins) bonded together; beta-alanine and histidine.

Only certain foods contain carnosine in high amounts, and lamb is one of these.

Per 100 grams, lamb contains – on average – 400mg of carnosine, which is slightly higher than beef (365mg).

L-Carnosine’s Health Benefits

Firstly, carnosine is classed as a non-essential nutrient because our bodies can make it internally.

However, recent research is showing that higher amounts of carnosine from external sources may offer additional health benefits.

Among these, carnosine appears to have anti-atherosclerotic effects, meaning that it may help to protect against cardiovascular disease.

Notably, carnosine also helps to reduce the glycation of sugars and proteins in our body.

Glycation leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

Unfortunately, AGES are harmful compounds that directly cause inflammation and oxidative stress, and they are believed to be one of the keys to the aging process.

2. Lamb is a Significant Source of Complete Protein

 

One of the biggest positives of eating lamb is protein content.

Lamb is extremely rich in protein, and depending on the cut it contains anywhere between 25 – 30 grams per 100 grams.

While it is common knowledge that lamb is an excellent source of protein, not all protein is made the same.

In other words; the efficiency by which our body can use protein differs depending on the specific food and the amino acids it contains.

On the positive side, lamb contains every amino acid, and we can, therefore, class it as a ‘complete’ protein.

This completeness means that our body can use lamb protein more efficiently than ‘incomplete’ proteins in plant foods.

Protein is incredibly important for our health, and it encourages lean muscle mass, the growth and repair of cells, and higher levels of satiety.

3. Lamb Is Incredibly Nutrient Dense

While some people like to judge food based on how many calories it contains, the caloric load says little about the food’s relative health merits.

The best measurement of the health properties of a particular food is nutrient density.

Lamb passes the nutrient-density test with flying colors, and here is a quick summary of why;

  • Lamb contains large amounts of healthy fat, including more omega-3 than most land animals and high levels of oleic acid.
  • High concentrations of bio-available, highly digestible protein.
  • A substantial amount of vitamins and minerals; particularly B vitamins and zinc.
  • A range of beneficial compounds including creatine, glutathione, conjugated linoleic acid, carnosine, and taurine.

4. A Surprising Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In the modern world, most people are consuming too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. This issue is important because omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, while omega-6 is pro-inflammatory.

Providing these two essential fatty acids are relatively balanced, they are both useful and beneficial. However, some people are now eating a diet that is approaching 20:1 in favor of omega-6 to omega-3.

Removing omega-6 vegetable oils such as soybean oil is a great way to change this. Additionally, consuming omega-3 fatty acids from seafood (especially oily fish) helps us to get more omega-3.

However, land animals can also be rich in omega-3.

This is especially the case for animals raised on pasture. As one such animal, lamb tends to be an excellent source of omega-3.

In pasture-raised lamb, the levels of omega-3 are higher than grain-finished animals.

As an example, 100 grams of grass-fed lamb rib contains 580 mg of omega-3 and 750 mg of omega-6; nearly a 1:1 ratio.

5. An Important Source of Heme Iron

 

Many different foods contain iron and it is present in everything from spinach and kale to bananas and tomatoes.

However, just as the digestibility of protein differs, not all iron is made the same.

When it comes to digestion and absorption, heme iron is king.

In fact, we can absorb approximately 15-35% of heme iron (found in animal foods), but this absorption rate drops to 10-15% for non-heme sources of iron (plant foods).

It is unfortunate to see the rise of iron-deficiency anemia.

Over the period between 2004 and 2013, iron-deficiency anemia rates in the US population nearly doubled to 5.6%. During the same decade, red meat consumption fell by 19%.

Importantly, lamb contains a rich source of heme iron in amounts similar to other red meat such as beef.

6. Lamb Contains a Significant Amount of Creatine

Creatine will be well known to anyone with an interest in working out and/or sporting performance.

Markedly, creatine can help to boost muscular endurance, strength, and – potentially – muscle mass.

While creatine supplements are very popular, this compound also occurs naturally in various foods.

Red meat is the most substantial dietary source of creatine and lamb contains approximately 300-500 mg per 100 grams.

Although this is not close to the same level as creatine supplement dosages (3 – 5 grams per day), it should still have a physiological benefit – especially for those eating higher amounts of lamb and beef.

7. Lamb is a Source of the “Master Antioxidant” Glutathione

People often refer to glutathione as “the master antioxidant” because of the critical role it plays in protecting our health and our internal antioxidant defense systems.

We cannot read too much into this since there is no clinical research on humans, but higher glutathione levels track with a longer lifespan in animal studies.

Notably, our body makes the glutathione compound internally from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine.

However, research suggests that consuming more exogenously (from outside sources; i.e. food) could have advantages.

On this note, a further health benefit of lamb is that it contains glutathione.

Also, it contains all three amino acids that our body requires to synthesize glutathione internally.

8. Lamb Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Lamb contains a source of the natural trans-fatty acid CLA.

Firstly, don’t worry about the name ‘trans fat’ because the naturally occurring version found in animal foods is much different from synthetic trans-fat.

In fact, it may even have some health benefits.

For instance, a meta-analysis of 18 controlled trials demonstrates that supplementing with isolated CLA “produces a modest fat loss in humans” .

Furthermore, research shows that people with higher tissue levels of CLA have a reduced risk for myocardial infarction (heart attack).

However, correlation does not necessarily equal causation. To illustrate this point, people with higher levels of CLA were likely consuming more meat and dairy (and probably less refined carbohydrates).

In other words, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what is lowering the risk.

Either way, lamb meat is richer in CLA than any other meat and contains approximately 4 – 19.0 mg CLA per gram of fat content.

By comparison, beef typically contains 1.2 – 4.0 mg while pork and poultry contain less than 1.0 mg.

9. A Source of Healthy Fats

 

These kinds of ‘health benefit’ lists generally do not mention fat.

After years of health authorities demonizing dietary fat, that is not really a big surprise.

However, let’s give fat the credit it deserves; good fat is an essential and healthy part of the human diet.

Furthermore, two specific fatty acids in lamb are very beneficial for us;

  • Omega-3: Lamb meat from animals raised on pasture has similar levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids as some fish.
  • Oleic acid: This monounsaturated fatty acid is one of the most evidence-based fats and it is widely known as the “heart-healthy” fat in olive oil. Research consistently links oleic acid to lower levels of inflammation and better health markers.

10. Lamb is Tasty!

This one is not really a health benefit, but it is always challenging to enjoy supposedly “healthy” (flavorless) low-fat products.

On the other hand, lamb genuinely is nutrient-dense and healthy food. It is doubtful that anyone would complain about the taste of it.

Put simply; lamb is one of the tastiest (and healthiest) foods in the world.

Health Benefits

Because lamb has received much less attention in the research literature than its fellow ruminant meat—namely, beef—we have been unable to find large-scale research studies on humans that analyze lamb intake and its relationship to disease. Another factor involved with the absence of health research on lamb within the U.S. has been the very limited consumption of lamb by U.S. adults (less than one pound per year).

When smaller-scale studies of food and health have included lamb, this food has traditionally been lumped together within a category called “red meats,” and the meats examined in these smaller studies have typically come from conventionally fed animals. Because grass-feeding improves the nutritional value of both beef and lamb, and because lambs are smaller ruminants than cows with different physical characteristics, we would expect studies of grass-fed lamb to show unique results and some unique health benefits.

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How to cook game birds for delicious meals

game bird flying in the air

When it comes to the birds we eat and enjoy, we tend to start with chicken and turkey. But there’s a whole kingdom of tasty flying critters out there, many of which we have limited experience within the kitchen.

Game birds do not have to be explicitly reserved for restaurant outings. They’re available at supermarkets and specialty stores all over the country, after all. You should be preparing things like pheasant and quail at home, perfecting recipes and fine-tuning techniques. You’ll learn to appreciate the wide spectrum of flavors within the category and maybe even find a new favorite dish.

We are asking a specialist on game birds regarding how the birds should be cooked. Specialty protein purveyors sell everything from rabbits to Hawaiian venison and have been doing so since 1990. A big part of the company’s program is its game selection, which spans the gamut of wild birds. He and his team are eager to get some in your hands as well as share some wisdom on how best to prepare the stuff.

He says the biggest mistake people make when preparing game birds is overcooking and not letting them rest for the proper amount of time. He adds that bringing the birds to room temperature before cooking is quite important, along with seasoning them. “You can even season the bigger birds — duck, goose, wild turkey, pheasant, and guinea hens two-and-a-half pounds and up — the day prior,” he says. “After seasoning, leave uncovered in the fridge overnight to allow the skin to dry out a bit so when they’re cooked, the skin turns out crispy and golden.”

When it comes to firing up the grill, he suggests not taking the more traditional beef steak approach. “They’re lean birds, so not as high and not as quick,” he says. “The key is to grill low and slow.”

Wild Turkey

Having shot all four sub-species, I’d have to say they were uniformly excellent. Turkey is a great “gateway” bird to serve to people who don’t think they like the wild game because it tastes just like a domestic turkey, but richer and better. I like the breasts pounded, floured, and fried, and the legs and thighs slow-cooked. A fall poult or hen is worth the trouble of picking and roasting.

Pheasant

This tasty bird is especially lean and low in fat. “You want to use things like wine, juniper, and mustard that are complementary to the bird and pheasant in particular,” he says. “A great way to cook them is to take the breast off the bone and sauté with wine and wild mushrooms. The moisture from the mushrooms helps keep the breast nice and moist. Another tip is to add a compound butter and spices and you shove it under the skin and rub it on top of the bird,” he adds.

Goose

Roasting a goose takes advantage of the nice fatty layer between the animal’s skin and muscle. Goose can be served a bit pink, unlike turkey, and keep in mind that the burly legs will likely take the longest to fully cook. A great way to capitalize on the flavors is to stuff the goose with citrus, bay leaves, and onions while seasoning the exterior with salt and a bit of lemon pepper. It’s common to serve alongside some kind of apple dish (sauce, roasted, etc.) as the two flavor profiles work tremendously with one another.

Duck

It’s tough to beat grilled duck. Try doing so with some salt, pepper, and paprika, and make sure you’ve got a good drip pan in place. With gas, you can grill on medium-low. With charcoal, it’s advised to arrange the briquettes around the pan once they’re medium-hot, adding new ones when necessary. The whole process will likely take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half and you’ll be left with some lovely meat and caramelized skin. If you’re in more of a rush, try butterflying the bird before grilling.

 Sharptail Grouse

Someone once asked me if my wife was outdoorsy, and I said no, she’s indoorsy, which made it all the more surprising when she took one bite of a sharptail I brought home and said, “I’d hunt for these.” Sharptails are that good and unlike most upland birds, they have red meat in the breast, and white meat in the legs. Cook them rare like a duck to avoid the dreaded liver taste, and they’re great. The last sharptail I shot was in South Dakota, in a sunflower field covering hundreds of acres where the birds perched in the heads of standing flowers to eat the seeds. We hunted on as cold and blustery a day as I have ever bird hunted. We walked all day in the cold, and I killed just one sharptail. It was totally worth it.

Quail

The specialist describes the Coturnix quail as a gateway bird for those thinking about getting into the game bird category. It’s full of dark meat that usually retains its juiciness no matter how you cook it. “Quail is my favorite and easiest to cook, its versatility is great for a salad or entre,” he says. “You can stuff one with rice, mushrooms, sausage, or a combination and roast it or pan sear for a delicious simple meal. Adding pancetta is another good option.”