Friday, March 9, 2012

Meat Games

Frequently ask question.

Is rabbit food healthy food? How does it compare with other meats? And where can you easily get it? Since the myxomatosis scare, there seems to be little demand for it -but I have recently seen packs of frozen rabbit from China on sale.

Is there a future for rabbit meat as part of a good diet, or should it be avoided because of the myxomatosis fear?

The Answer

No doubt the vision of fluffy hopping animals would put many a purchaser off, but this is an emotive and purely personal response. As in our research, in China, France and many Mediterranean cuisines, rabbit is a hugely popular and cheap dish - typically used in casseroles with rich sauces.

And the fact is, although rabbit might be an acquired taste, it offers several health benefits and perhaps should be considered more often as a menu option.

Rabbit tastes a little like game, or strong-flavoured chicken - similar to the flavour you get from some organic chicken from small suppliers.

In terms of nutrition, it has a lot in its favour. Rabbit is a good source of iron, a mineral we sometimes forget is essential for growth. One of the main reasons why we wean children from milk on to solid food is that milk doesn't give them the iron their body needs as they develop beyond six months.

Eating rabbit would help replenish iron losses women experience during their monthly cycles.
But perhaps one of the main reasons why we should take note is that rabbit meat's fat content is similar to that of chicken or turkey - and much lower than the red meats such as beef. This means rabbit is good if you're watching your waistline.
It's also good in terms of cholesterol, as the amount of saturated fat it contains is low, so eating rabbit is less likely to produce what we call bad cholesterol (LDL ).
Since heart disease rates are worryingly high in Malaysia, maybe we should be less sentimental about these animals.
As for myxomatosis concerns, there are very high standards when it comes to ensuring that the meat from infected rabbits doesn't enter the food chain - so set those worries aside.


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