: Many people shy away from goat meat recipes believing that the red meat contributes to high blood cholesterol level and high blood pressure that sooner or later lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Nonetheless, goat meat, often used interchangeably with mutton in some Asian cooking, represents 63 per cent of the meat consumed all over the world.
It is the main source of protein in many nations situated in the Arab and North African region, in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and in the tropics.
In the West, goat meat is being promoted as a healthier protein-packed alternative to beef.
Researchers from Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), a joint research effort between Alabama University and Auburn University in the United States, have been working to create awareness on the benefits of goat meat when taken in moderation. NUTRITIONAL COMPOSITION
According to ACES, goat meat is leaner and has higher nutritional composition compared to beef and pork and meat of lamb, sheep and chicken.
Goat meat has a lower cholesterol levels and lower saturated fats compared with other meat, thus serves as a good red meat alternative.
Three ounce (85 grammes) of mutton contains 2.6 grammes of fat compared with 7.9 grammes for beef, lamb (8.1 grammes), pork (8.2 grammes) and chicken (6.3 grammes).
Looking at the calorie viewpoint for the same amount of meat, goat meat records 122 calories (cal), compared with beef (179 cal), lamb (175 cal), pork (180) and chicken 162 (cal).
Moreover, the amount of unsaturated fat in goat meat is far lower than all the red meat combined, and it has all the amino acids needed by the body along with a high level of iron that can be helpful to anemic persons. GOOD FOR THE HEART?
A clinical study conducted by Harvard University, confirmed that while the saturated fat contributes to cardiovascular risks, the unsaturated fats could help enhance the good cholesterol, stabilise the heartbeat and offer many other health benefits.
This finding has helped to strengthen ACES' finding that the goat meat could help reduce blood cholesterol, the arteriosclerosis risk and other cardiovascular issues.
Thus the goat meat can be added to the healthy heart diet.
In promoting the intake of goat meat, ACES has outlined two basic guideline in preparing goat meat based dishes.
"Firstly the meat must be cooked under low heat, as high heat erodes the meat's texture, secondly the meat should be marinated before cooked including making curries or stews," according to ACES' report. NUTRITIOUS MILK
The advantages of goat's meat for health has been attested by the Babcock University's Agricultural Department in Nigeria.
The North America Agriculture and Biology Journal noted that in Okinawa, Japan pregnant women and those who have just given birth were encouraged to eat goat meat to regain their strength and overcome lethargy.
The journal also highlighted the goodness of goat's milk including its composition especially the smaller globular fats digest easily compared with cow's milk.
Goat's milk also serves as an alternative for those who cannot tolerate cow's milk. This includes babies, adults and breast feeding mothers, the report added.
The goat's milk is important in maintaining a healthy skin, especially for those suffering from psoriasis, eczema or acne.
Dermatologists often prescribe goat's milk moisturizing soap to help alleviate dry skin and rashes. POTENTIAL OF GOAT HUSBANDARY
Looking at the many scientific evidence relating to nutritional value of goat's milk, the demand for goat's milk is expected to increase tremendously in the short-term.
Given Malaysias weather conditions (hot and humid), the country will be able to meet the demand for goats milk and meat.
Goat breeding was once synonymous with the Indian community in Malaysia but now more Malays have entered this field. Goat breeding for commercial purposes generally increases during Hari Raya Aidiladha.
Moreover, the government has provided incentives for young entrepreneurs in goat breeding to help stimulate rural economies.
By Wan Shahara Ahmad Ghazali