American Heart Association Recommends Bison

By Karrie Leib

Reprinted from Bison World, April / May / June 2001

You can be heart-healthy and consume lean meat without sacrificing taste and flavour. Bison meat is a satisfying and healthy alternative to lean poultry and fish. The American Heart Association has included bison as a lean meat option on their recent brochure: An Eating Plan for Healthy Americans. The goal of the eating plan is to educate Americans about reducing the "controllable" risk factors related to heart attack and stroke. The two major risk factors for heart attack are high blood cholesterol and obesity. Reducing those risks also reduces the likelihood of a stroke. The AHA recommends eating less saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight. Choosing a proper portion of bison is part of the AHA eating plan.

As part of a healthy diet, the AHA recommends that each person eat up to 6 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day. In their brochure, "lean cuts of buffalo" are included as an option. The AHA further states that buffalo meat is "very low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium." The association also suggests choosing cuts of meat that have the least amount of visible fat. Baking, broiling, roasting, microwaving, and stir-frying are the preferred methods of preparing the meat.

The American Heart Association has also made their diet recommendations available online. You will find the daily recommendations for meat, poultry and fish at In addition to the guidelines, the web site has links to recipes and articles on nutrition.

The Metropolitan Chicago Chapter of the AHA posted an article on the organization's web site recommending bison and less common meats as an alternative to turkey or chicken. The media release is titled, "Call of the Wild: American Heart Association Offers Wild Ways to Reduce Fat." Heather Earls, R.D., senior director of prevention and healthcare programs for the AHA Midwest Affiliate, states: "Wild game and less common meats such as venison, buffalo, rabbit, emu, ostrich, and pheasant are low in fat and offer new menu ideas for your family, who may be tired of turkey or think of chicken as a chore." Two portions (a total of six ounces) per person each day should supplement a balanced diet of vegetables, whole grain breads, pastas, fruit, and milk, the AHA advises.

Source: Karrie Leib, Smoke Signals, June 2001

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