Bison is a Nutrient Powerhouse and Four More Things You Need to Know

May 02, 2014

What’s for dinner for those of us looking to lessen our environmental impact, eat more healthfully, but still include meat? Bison it is! Find out what you need to know here...

What’s for dinner for those of us looking to lessen our environmental impact, eat more healthfully, and still include some red meat in our diet? Buffalo or bison – first off, what’s the difference? Nothing really, bison actually refers more specifically to American bison, which is used interchangeably with American buffalo. Despite its shaggy, hulky looks and classification as the largest terrestrial animal in North America and Europe, (weighing in at over 3,000 pounds) its meat is lean and highly nutritious.

Here are five things you need to know.

Bison is nutrient dense. According to the National Bison Association and a study conducted at North Dakota State University, Bison is a nutrition powerhouse. Its’ meat is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than beef, pork, skinless chicken and even some fish. Bison meat has significantly higher amounts of iron than beef. And, bison meat provides higher levels of vitamins and minerals and twice as much beta-carotene as meat from animals that have been entirely grain-fed.

It’s a free roaming food. Bison are not given chemicals, antibiotics or hormones. The bison farms across the country take this seriously and are diligent about preserving natural, humane and sustainable farming policies. Good for you and good for the environment.

Protein rich. Bison meat has more protein than beef. Protein is essential for energy, cells, tissues and hormones. So you can eat less and still get adequate protein.

Healthy fats. A Cornell University study demonstrated that grass-fed bison (like grass-fed beef) is leaner and has more beneficial fats (omega-3s) and makes up the majority of the product on supermarket shelves. Omega-3s are great for combatting inflammation, keeping the immune system in tip top shape, helping with mood and much more.  

Taste and cooking tips. Ground bison can be used interchangeably with ground beef in almost any recipe. Experiment with chili or lasagna. Bison meat cooks a bit faster than regular beef because it is lower in fat, so keep a watchful eye on that grill or oven. To keep it moist, you may want to cook with a drizzle of olive oil.

As a natural part of the North American ecosystem, bison ranching is beneficial to the natural environment. But as consumption continues to grow, you as the consumer are truly the one who chooses the future of their feeding practices by voting at the checkout.

National Bison Association