Goat meat or chevon is one of the most underrated and utilised meats. Lack of nutritional knowledge, personal preferences and prejudice contribute to the lack of interest in goat meat. Some people hate chevon because they hate the “goaty” smell. They believe that the meat smells. I am a big fan of chevon. It’s softer, easier to digest and highly nutritious.
The search for healthier meat options has resulted in an increased intake of goat meat. This has helped in improving the overall diet quality in communities.
Goat meat or chevon is a healthier meat option. Not only is it a healthy and good source of dietary protein but it also has a lower fat content. Chevon is highly nutritious because it has a health-promoting chemical composition. It also has distinct and beneficial nutritional composition. Therefore, because of this, chevon fulfils the demands of health-promoting foods.
Emerging research data show that pasture grown animals provide healthier meat. This is because the pasture grown animals feed on a diverse range of plants. As a result, meat is rich in health-promoting factors.
Beneficial traits of chevon
Some of the beneficial traits of goat meat include:
- Good source of dietary protein
- Have lower total fat, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol content.
- Provides lean red meat with low fat and cholesterol content
- Has a healthy promoting chemical composition.
- Goat meat is low calorie, low cholesterol and low-fat product when compared to pork, beef, lamb and chicken.
Goat meat health benefits
1. High nutritional value
Goat meat has a favourable health-promoting chemical composition.
Studies show that chevon has a:
- Low cholesterol and saturated fatty acid content.
- Is a good source of high-quality protein.
- A higher concentration of desirable and unsaturated fatty acids.
- Is low-calorie meat.
- It is also leaner than other red meats.
- Has favourable sensory and visual appeals.
Also when compared to lamb, pork, chicken and beef, chevon has a much-reduced risk of causing obesity. It also helps in reducing the risks of causing metabolic diseases. The metabolic diseases include insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
2. Goat meat is a good iron and potassium source
Goat meat has a higher iron content than chicken, lamb, beef and pork. It can be used to boost dietary iron intake. Chevon can therefore help in the alleviation of iron deficiency anaemia. This is beneficial to groups at risk of iron deficiency. These include children, pregnant and lactating women. Thus chevon provides adequate iron and potassium for groups at risk of iron deficiency.
Also, the haem iron in goat meat is 10% more available than the non-haem iron in plant-based foods.
Potassium is important for maintaining a steady osmotic balance in the body.
3. Goat meat is a good source of vitamin A and B12
Vitamin A is an essential component of the diet. And its deficiency is associated with several health problems. These include blindness, weaker epithelial linings and dry skins. Animal-based foods like goat meat are good sources of vitamin A. They are also good sources of fat-soluble vitamin E and beta carotene.
It is also a good source of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is an important component in the maturation of your red blood cells. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 causes megaloblastic anaemia. In this condition, you have oversized red blood cells with impaired functionalities.
4. A healthy protein source
Goat meat is mainly constituted of fat and protein. Chevon protein is well balanced with essential and non-essential amino acids. This is beneficial for your health. High-quality protein also enhances your healing, tissue repair and growth properties. In addition goat meat is rich in carnitine, inosine and taurine which are also very important for human health.
Chevon protein has a high biological value and high digestibility. This means the body easily utilises the dietary protein from goat meat. Goat meat provides you with acceptable levels of proteins and essential amino acids.
Goat meat viscera and blood are also highly nutritious components. Studies show that goat meat viscera has a healthy essential amino acid profile. This means that there is no limiting amino acid in the intestines, blood and internal organs of goats. Therefore, goat meat viscera are also a high-quality protein source. However, these are also rich in fats especially saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. This means overeating these may be risky to your health.
Having adequate high-quality protein helps in protecting you from diseases. It also helps you recover from illnesses and heal from injuries quickly.
5. Healthy fat source
Goat meat also has an advantageous fatty acid profile than other red meats. This makes it ideal meat for health-conscious consumers. Studies show that has desirable fatty acid levels of 61-80%. In addition, its polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio is often greater than beef, mutton and pork.
Chevon fat has about 50% saturated fatty acids and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This is beneficial for your cardiovascular health. And eating goat meat does not increase your blood pressure. However, too much salt in chevon causes an increase in high blood pressure.
Also read: What makes fats harmful? Healthy fats vs unhealthy fats.
The high taurine levels in goat meat can act as an antihypertensive agent against salt-induced hypertension.
The fatty acid composition of chevon depends on the type of feeding. Grass-fed goats have a healthier fatty acid profile. Grass-fed chevon is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are in the form of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are highly desirable in the diet. Omega 6 are also needed by the body but they are harmful in excess.
The omega 3 fatty acid content of milk and meat from goats is 1- to 2-fold higher than cow’s milk and meat.
The fatty acid profiles of goat meat especially grass-fed is advantageous. It can contain between 61-80% healthy fats. And also the unsaturated fats to saturated fat ratios is greater than those of lamb, beef, mutton, beef and pork.
Chevon also has lower cholesterol than other meats. Low dietary cholesterol may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
6. Good sources of vitamins and minerals
Goat meat can help you fight micronutrient deficiencies. It is rich in vitamins B1, B2 and pantothenic acid. It is also a good source of minerals, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. All this may help you in preventing micronutrient deficiencies.
8. A healthy medicinal dish
Goat meat dishes can be prepared to improve the health of consumers. In Japanese history, there was a time when food was scarce. People in Okinawa resorted to traditional dishes such as goat meat soup. This soup was made from the whole goat carcass including the offals and bones. Only the goat hide was left out. The meat was cut into smaller pieces and added to a large pot. The pot of meat would then be boiled for 3 to 4 hours. After this medicinal herbs, spices and culinary condiments would then be added to the soup.
This soup was shown to greatly improve the health of the consumers. However, this dish is now less popular since there are beliefs that chevon can increase your blood pressure. Evidence shows that it is not the chevon that causes high blood pressure. Studies show that it is the salt and spices used in the preparation of the meat that causes high blood pressure.
The addition of mugwort as a food condiment has been shown to arrest the increase in high blood pressure.
9. Better digestibility
Goat meat has a different molecular structure than other red meat types. This different molecular structure gives it a high digestibility than other meats. This means you can digest chevon easily.
This is a very good quality for consumers with digestive problems. Other people have problems with the digestion of tough red meat. Therefore, meat from goats a healthier and better option.
10. Other healthful qualities of goat meat
- Chevon has the same nutritional value as that of sheep.
- Chevon is more easily digestible than other red meats and it’s softer to chew.
- It has a low saturated fatty acid and cholesterol compared to other meats.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids present in chevon help reduce the risks of stroke and coronary heart diseases.
- Chevon is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help reduce the risks of heart disease and strokes.
Mazhangara, I. R., Chivandi, E., Mupangwa, J. F., and Michenje, V., 2019. The potential of goat meat in the red meat industry- review. Sustainability, 2019. (mdpi-res.com)
Conclusion on chevon health benefits
Goat meat is an underrated source of nutrition, especially for low-income households. Most households in Southern Africa have grass-fed goats. Improving goat production may help in fighting micronutrient deficiencies in southern Africa. I love goat meat because it is healthy, soft, chewable and nutritious. Dried chevon is even better because it has a much lower fat content.