Goat Meat Health Benefits

Why Goat Meat?

There are two common names for goat meat you may run across, cabrito and chevon. There are several definitions of what cabrito is, the most common one seems to be goat meat from milk fed kids 4-8weeks of age. Chevon is what is usually available commercially and from local ranchers with the goats being butchered between 3-9 months of age. Goat meat can get tougher as the animals age and butchering earlier rather than later is normally preferred for most people.

Goat meat is an extremely healthy red meat, low in calories, fats and cholesterol and accounts for approximately 63% of all red meat consumed world wide.

Australia and New Zealand are the primary exporters of goat meat to the United States – 92.5 percent of which comes from Australia. The goat meat industry is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. livestock industry. In 2008, the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service reported 3,150,000 meat goats in the United States, yet American producers are unable to meet domestic demand.

Check out the chart below for a quick glance and the amazing health benefits of goat meat compared to other common meats.


  • After conducting a little more research, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) provides a bit more detail on goat meat health benefits:

    Comparatively, goat meat also contains higher potassium content with lower sodium levels. Regarding essential amino acid composition, goat meat closely resembles that of beef and lamb.

    Goat meat offers more nutritional value, greater health benefits, and is an ideal choice to be considered as “the other red meat.” As the health benefits of goat becomes more widely known among the general population, the demand for alternative low-fat red meat should also continue to increase.

    The nutritive value of goat meat is becoming increasingly important in the health management of people. Not only is goat meat lower in total fat and cholesterol, but it is also lower in saturated fats than traditional meats.

    Saturated fatty acids, which form solid or semisolid fat at room temperature, cause cholesterol levels to rise. The amount of cholesterol in the food has only a moderate effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Furthermore, the amount of saturated fat in goat meat is less than the total amount of unsaturated fats, which may be important in human nutrition. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are in liquid form at room temperature, are known to decrease the risk for heart disease and stroke.

    Less saturated fats and a relatively high proportion of total unsaturated fats make goat a very healthy meat choice. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, saturated fats (bad fats) increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions, while unsaturated fats (good fats) improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles.

    When discussing the effects of saturated and unsaturated fats on blood cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease, a clear understanding of lipoproteins is required. Lipoproteins are complex particles that consist of a core of hydrophobic lipids surrounded by a layer of phospholipids and apoproteins (lipid-binding proteins), which render the particles soluble in water. Due to the hydrophobic (water repelling) nature of lipids, lipoproteins are the form in which lipids, like cholesterol (figure 4), are transported in the blood. The two major types of lipoprotein particles in human blood are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Of these two cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins, HDLs contain a relatively high proportion of protein and low amount of cholesterol. In contrast, LDLs contain a relatively low proportion of protein and large amount of cholesterol as its core lipid.

    Generally, LDLs transport cholesterol from the liver to cells throughout the body. The body uses cholesterol to form cell membranes and to synthesize vitamin D, estrogen, testosterone, and other steroid hormones. If it is not used, LDLs continue to carry the cholesterol in the blood. When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, these particles can attach themselves to artery walls and form plaques that narrow arteries, limit or block blood flow, and consequently cause a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. Since HDLs transport cholesterol from cells, artery walls, and blood back to the liver for reprocessing, HDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol.

    Clinical trials demonstrate that dietary saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol levels, while monounsatur-ated and polyunsaturated fats may help decrease LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Based on these findings, a health claim can be made that goat meat helps to lower blood cholesterol and reduces the risk for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Therefore, goat meat can be included in a heart-healthy diet.

  • I found some great information today from Livestrong about goat meat health benefits in regards to minerals:

    The FDA recommends a daily intake of 3,500 mg. of potassium daily; goat meat contributes 344 mg per 3-oz. serving. Potassium is involved in several biological processes, including regulating the body’s mineral levels, reducing urinary calcium that causes kidney stones, and regulating muscle contractions, including those of the heart.
    Zinc is a necessary mineral for general growth and development, maintenance of reproductive health and immune system response, and efficient wound healing. There are no symptoms of a mild zinc deficiency, but an inadequate amount puts stress on the body. The zinc content of 3 oz. of chicken is .86, while the same size piece of goat meat offers 4.5 mg, or 30 percent of the 15 mg FDA daily recommended value.
    The iron in a 3-oz. serving of goat meat is 3.2 mg, or 18 percent of the 18 mg daily recommendation. Beef offers a bit less, 2.9 mg, for the same amount. American women typically consume less daily iron than recommended. Iron’s most important job is to transport oxygen to the body’s organs via the bloodstream. An iron deficiency may bring about anemia, causing fatigue and poor concentration. Foods that contain vitamin C help the body absorb iron. Eating a serving of goat meat along with a food that contains vitamin C, such as broccoli, improves iron absorption.

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