Oxtail is often considered a delicacy because it’s a rare piece of meat. There is only one tail for every animal, and it only contains a few pounds of meat, bone, and some cartilage. If you order oxtail in a restaurant, it can cost much more than other meat dishes. Depending on where you live, oxtail can be difficult to find at your local grocery store or butcher shop. But is oxtail healthy?
Is oxtail good for you? It’s a good source of protein and minerals, is high in fat and cholesterol, and should be eaten sparingly. The best way to eat oxtail is with a heaping pile of vegetables and broth containing all of the bones’ minerals.
Is Oxtail Healthy? Oxitail Healthy Components
Bone broth contains some essential metals
When bones are boiled, the marrow and bones release some nutrients, including metals like calcium and magnesium. These are essential for body maintenance and health. But broth has been tested and found to be non-toxic in levels of unhealthy metals like lead, which means you don’t suffer these negative consequences when enjoying your bone broth .
Bone broths can clear up nasal and mucus problems and reduce inflammation, among other health benefits .
Oxtail is high in protein
Like many animal products, oxtail is high in protein . Proteins contain amino acids, the building blocks of muscles, tissues, and organs [4, 5]. Think of it like putting Lego pieces together into a structure. These essential amino acids are plentiful in oxtail.
Oxtail is high in iron
Iron is something that many of our foods (like breakfast cereal, for example) are supplemented with . It’s an essential nutrient required for red blood cell function (these cells carry oxygen around our body), physical growth, cellular functioning, and hormone synthesis [7, 8].
Being iron-deficient can also cause iron-deficiency anemia, symptoms of which include fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain . Red meat like oxtail is particularly high in iron and can help you avoid this problem.
Oxtail is high in potassium
Potassium is another important essential nutrient that our body needs to keep cells functioning normally . With sodium, potassium regulates plasma and cell fluid volumes, keeping our blood and cells healthy [11, 12]. Potassium is absorbed from foods like oxtail, which can help you meet your daily needs.
Some Unhealthy Components of Oxtail
Oxtail is high in saturated fat
Oxtail is delicious because it has a fatty coating between the meat and bone. The cartilage-laden interior of the oxtail is also high in fat. Unfortunately, oxtail fat is saturated fat, which isn’t healthy for you [13, 14]. Fats are part of a healthy diet and needed for certain body functions, but overdoing it on this tasty flavoring increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and many other health problems [15, 16].
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Oxtail is high in cholesterol
Currently, almost 78 million American adults (about 13% of the total population) have high cholesterol . Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that our cells use to make hormones and digest fatty foods. But, if you get too much, that waxy material builds up in your blood vessels, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke .
You can reduce the risk of high cholesterol by making sure you eat foods like flaxseed and garlic that are natural cholesterol-lowering agents . Luckily for us, these can also easily be cooked up into the same dishes like oxtail, counteracting the effect.
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Oxtail is expensive
If you’re looking to get red meats that contain these same healthful nutrients like iron, potassium, and healthy meals, it doesn’t necessarily have to come from oxtail. This is one of the more expensive meats to find at the butcher or grocery store because it’s rare.
Of the hundreds of pounds of meat you get from an animal, the tail is a single component with only a few pounds of meat, bone, and skin. Keep your diet balanced, and enjoy your oxtail, but remember it doesn’t have to be your primary source of red meat.
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In conclusion, Is Oxtail Healthy?
Oxtail has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, making it less healthy than other protein sources. However, it does have some redeeming nutritional qualities, including protein and micronutrients.
The best way to eat your oxtail is sparingly, boiled into a hearty broth, and eaten with various vegetables to further bolster the micronutrient content of your meal. Do not add high-fat side-dishes to this already fatty meat source, but do enjoy it from time to time in a stew or with rice, and always with many vegetables.
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