Meat and meat products are associated with nutrients often considered negative to health including high fat content, high calorie content, high levels of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium which are linked to cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
In the last decade, there has been increased interest in alternative meat sources that are considered to be healthier. Rabbit meat is one of them. Currently, China is the world’s leading producer (700K tonnes/year), Italy (230 K tonnes/year), Spain (74 K tonnes/year) and France (51 K tonnes/year).
Rabbit meat offers excellent nutritive and dietetic properties. It is high in protein (22%) and high levels of essential amino acids. Rabbit meat is also lean with average fat content of 8.8 grams of fat for every 100 grams of meat.
The other nutritive values of rabbit meat are shown below.
Compared to beef, chicken and pork, rabbit meat has the lowest cholesterol levels.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 is 2 micrograms. 100g of rabbit meat provides more than enough of Vitamin B12.
Reduced Sodium intake (sodium chloride) has recently been recommended to limit hypertension (high blood pressure). Processed meats with high sodium levels should ne reduced or avoided. Rabbit meat has very low sodium levels making it appropriate for hypertension diets.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
Fatty acid composition of foods has considerable effect on diet/health relationship because different fatty acids affect blood fats differently. Saturated fatty acids are unwanted because they increase the bad cholesterol while polyunsaturated fatty acids are desirable as they decrease the bad cholesterol. Rabbit has high polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to other meat products.
Therefore compared to other meats, rabbit meat is a good alternative as it characterised by high levels of desirable nutrients such as protein, PUFA, essential amino acids and B vitamins.