Crocodile, one of reptile kind which is known as predator. As time passed, human has utilized crocodile for its skin, meat and other body part for their consumption. We used to found bag, shoes or other stuffs which came from crocodile skin and it is also common for some people to eat crocodile meat. Crocodile meat is popular in most Asian countries and it is consider as delicate one.
Chinese people has consumed crocodile meat since long ago due to its healing effect. Not only in Asia, some people in Southern USA also consume crocodile meat even in barbeque party. Differ from those countries, crocodile meat is restricted in the Europian restaurant menu. Crocodile meat is legal since they came from farming not from wildlife. The farm contributes in the survival of this species and suplly the meat and other crocodile products to the market. Just like rare Chinese alligator that almost extinct now after its get breed n farming the population increase to more that 10000 animals.
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In early 1990s, crocodile meat in global market were mostly provided by United State. Alligator mississippiensis is the main species which exported from United States to other countries such as Taiwan, China, United Kingdom and Canada. Its not only improted from United States, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe also contributes crocodile meat suppy in the global trade especially for the species of Crocodylus niloticus.
Fresh water crocodile (C. novaeguineae) and salt water crocodile (C. porosus) are the species of crocodile which exported from some Asian countries such as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. The main market of crocodile meat is East Asian countries including China and Hongkong. China used to import live crocodile from Thailand for its meat.
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Maybe you will imagine that crocodile meat will be hardly to eat or chew but the fact show that crocodile meat is pale and tender with mild flavor. Some people said that the taste of crocodile meat is same to combination of chicken and crab. There are some species of crocodile which we can found in market nowadays.
Crocodile meat contains high amount of protein and low fat compared to other types of meet. Crocodile meat also contains some amount of calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, magnesium and manganese. The table below show comparison of crocodile meat to other type of meat in calories, protein, fat and cholesterol.
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Health Benefits of Crocodile Meat
The main reason of eating crocodile meat is to get the medicinal benefits. People in China has regularly consume crocodile meat and it has also been substitute of some other types of meat like beef and pork. Here are the list of health benefits of crocodile meat :
1. Cure skin problem
It is the main benefits that you may get if you consume crocodile meat. People in Asian countries believed that by eating crocodile meat, it can cure eczema, itchy skin and other skin disease including skin allergy.
2. Build muscle
Crocodile meat contain high level of protein which is important in the muscle building process. Eating 100 gr serving of crocodile meat contain 46g of protein, based on Health Promotion Board. The protein of crocodile meat is higher that protein which found in chicken meat.
3. Prevent heart disease
The protein and amino acid which contained in crocodile meat can prevent from heart problem. Crocodile meat also contain potassium which is also play important role in keeping the heart function.
4. Prevent asthma
Most of reptile meat including crocodile is believed can cure asthma.
Asthma is an allergy which occur in respiratory tract. Chinese people used to mix crocodile meat with herbal medicine such as ginseng to cure asthma
5. prevent diabetes
Crocodile meat contain protein and amino acid which can protect organ function including pancreas. Pancreas is the main organ which produces insulin that play important role in controlling blood sugar level. Most people which suffer diabetes are lack of insulin or having insulin resistance.
6. Maintain lower cholesterol
Compared to other types of meat such as beef and pork, crocodile meat contain lower amount of cholesterol. Consuming crocodile meat can be consider as healthy choice for people who has problem with high level of cholesterol. In 300 gr serving of crocodile meat contains only 23mg cholesterol.
7. Reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
Crocodile meat contains lower saturated fat compared to chicken. In 11 gr total fat in crocodile meat contributes 4 gr of bad fat. While chicken has 5 gr bad fat among 16 gr total fat. This amount of bad fat may cause several health problem such as the thickening of blood vessel. Eating crocodile meat regularly can reduce the risk of building atherosclerosis.
8. Relieve cold and cough
Traditional Chinese Medicine or known as TCM practitioners cal;led crocodile meat as heaty food due to its characteristic which give warm effect to the body. They used to suggest patient to eat crocodile meat tp cure the cold and relive cough
9. Prevent wrinkle skin
Due to its high protein level, crocodile meat is believed can delay the onset of aging and prevent from wrinkle skin. It has been practiced by Chinese that people who used to consume crocodile meat has better skin condition during old age.
Tumor is also called as benign cancer which dose not spread to other parts of the body . Consuming crocodile meat is believe can prevent from developing tumor.
11. Heal Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a condition where the liver got damaged and it has several symptoms such as jaundice, fatigue, weakness and etc. Chinese people used to treat cirrhosis patient with crocodile meat and other herbal medicine. The protein and amino acid which is contained in crocodile meat maybe can help in repair the liver cell and fasten the healing process.
12. Improve lung function
Crocodile meat is not only delicious for people who loves to consume it. It is believed that consuming crocodile meat will keep you away from respiratory problem and it help to improve lung function in binding oxygen and other.
13. Boost immune system
Protein is building block of almost human body and tissue including immune system. Crocodile meat may contribute high amount of protein which required in the immune cell formation. It is also believed that by consume crocodile meat regularly, it can keep you away from many disease.
14. Keeping strong bones
Crocodile meat contains some amount of calcium that can keep healthy bone and prevent losing bone mass. The calcium contained in crocodile meat is higher than calcium level of beef in same portion.
15. Prevent anemia
Iron is important in keeping red blood cell formation and its function. Without iron, human body will experience anemia that may cause weakness, fatigue and other health problem. Crocodile meat contains some amount of iron which can help to prevent anemia.
16. Keeping Nerve Function
Protein and other nutrients such as magnesium contained in crocodile meat help in maintaining nerve function, magnesium is a mineral that required in keeping normal neurotransmitter function and it is also can prevent body from developing neural disorder in brain such as Alzheimer.
17. Help in weight lost
If you are in diet but still wanna consume meat, crocodile can be an good alternative. It contains lower calories than other types of meat especially beef. A single serving of 3.5 ounce crocodile meat only contains 232 calories while beef contains 291 calories in same amount, based on the data of U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Health Risk Crocodile Meat
Some health risk of reptile meat consumption including crocodile meat have been published by researchers. Crocodile meat may contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella which can cause several health problem such as typhoid, diarrhea, and some digestion disorder. Infection of salmonella also can cause liver cell damage.
The protein and amino acid of contained in crocodile meat also can contributes in trigger the allergic reaction to people who suffer from certain types of allergy. If you have some allergy history before consume crocodile meat it is better to consult your doctor first. It is also reported that crocodile meat may contain some amount of mercury which can be dangerous for pregnant women.
How to Store and Process
Crocodile meat is available in the market and you can easily found it in certain area. Follow these tips how to store and process or cook the crocodile meat.
- Choose meat from tail it is considered as best part and you can also choose ribs, nuggets or sausages that is made from the front legs of crocodile.
- Keep the crocodile meat inside freezer until you need to cook it.
- If you want to use freeze crocodile meat, thaw it first in refrigerator. Avoid to thaw the meat in hot boiling water.
- Always wash your hands and utensils before processing the meat to avoid contamination of bacteria
- You can cook crocodile meat in almost types of dish that using meat as ingredients such as soup or stew. You can also baked, fry or stir it with other ingredients.
- Crocodile meat can also be processed to make sausage, nugget and other types of frozen food.
Those are all the benefits of crocodile meat plus the health risk, how to store and process it in safe way. Eating crocodile meat is maybe unthinkable for some people but if you want to try it just go on.