Their tough, scaly skin and sharp teeth terrify most people. And many do not even realize that in some regions crocodile meat is consumed as often as we eat beef or pork. If for us reptile meat is a gastronomic exotic, then, for example, in Singapore or Jamaica it is a common food product. In addition, as some say, it is a very tasty, healthy and, I must say, a dietary product.
Crocodiles are huge reptiles (some reach 7 m in length) inhabiting tropical regions of Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia. Experts say that these creatures have inhabited the Earth for about 190 million years. Prehistoric predators, as experts believe, have changed little since the days of the dinosaurs. Researchers suggest that crocodile meat was included in the menu of cavemen. In northern Kenya, archaeologists have found stone tools and crocodile bones, which are about 1.95 million years old. Some scientists are of the opinion that it was a diet rich in reptile meat that accelerated the development of ancient people, in particular, influenced the development of their brains.
- Prehistoric man food
- Nutritional characteristics
- Benefits for the body
- Potential harm to crocodile meat
- How to choose and cook correctly
For many, these frightening reptiles look, to put it mildly, not very appetizing. But under the frightening appearance hides a delicate tasty fillet, the popularity of which has been rapidly growing lately. In Kenya, for example, there are special crocodile farms where reptiles are raised, which will become someone's lunch or dinner. The inhabitants of most Asian countries do not see anything bad in the use of crocodile meat. There, this product is considered a healthy dietary food. In China, for example, reptile fillets have long been respected for their many medicinal properties.
By the way, they eat meat from both freshwater crocodiles and inhabitants of salt waters. Today, the main deliveries of the delicacy to different countries of the world are carried out by Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and some regions of the United States. And most of all crocodile product is eaten in the countries of East Asia, including China, Hong Kong.
Perhaps many people think that crocodile meat is tough and tasteless, and it is very difficult to chew it. In fact, everything is exactly the opposite. The fillet on the body and tail of crocodiles is light, almost white in color. It looks a bit like chicken in texture, but with a fishy flavor. It is tender and soft. The taste of crocodile meat is often described by gourmets as a combination of chicken and crab.
Crocodile meat is recognizable by its very unusual, but rather pleasant taste and aroma. But gastronomic characteristics are not the only advantage of this product. This delicacy is incredibly rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus and other beneficial substances, and also contains a minimum amount of fat and cholesterol. This exotic contains rich reserves of magnesium and potassium, which are very beneficial for people prone to high blood pressure. Crocodilatine can be considered a source of calcium, sodium, iron, and manganese.
Interestingly, a kilogram of crocodile product contains almost as many proteins and calories as 2 kilograms of chicken. And this delicacy also contains all the amino acids necessary for the human body. The results of many studies indicate that crocodile meat is much healthier than beef, pork, chicken, ham or sausage more familiar to us.
In the East, it has long been known about the beneficial properties of crocodile meat. There the product is used not only as an exquisite delicacy, but also as a natural medicine. It's time for us to find out how the use of this reptile affects a person.
Effects on the cardiovascular system
The proteins and amino acids found in crocodile meat can help prevent heart problems. In addition, potassium, which is also abundant in the product, plays an essential role for the cardiac system. Compared to other more popular meats such as pork or beef, crocodile fillets are much lower in cholesterol. And this is already a huge plus for the heart and blood vessels, since most of the products in our daily diet contain much more cholesterol than they should. In addition, reptile fillets are lower in saturated fat than chicken. And in combination, all this is useful for the prevention of atherosclerosis.
Unlike other types of meat products, crocodile fillets contain a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that these substances can prevent arrhythmias, reduce the risk of clots inside blood vessels (thrombosis) and fatty deposits in the arteries, and they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Which is very important for maintaining heart health.
There are suggestions that crocodile meat may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of asthma. In particular, in ancient Chinese medicine, a mixture of reptile meat and ginseng was often used to heal this ailment. Interestingly, in the same Chinese medicine, crocodilatine is used to treat coughs and colds. This product is believed to have warming properties and to promote healing.
Benefits for diabetes prevention
This delicacy, as already mentioned, is very rich in dietary proteins and amino acids necessary for the human body. These substances have a beneficial effect on the work of internal organs, including the pancreas. Namely, the pancreas is responsible for the production of the required amount of insulin, which, in turn, regulates blood sugar levels. Therefore, people who are at risk of developing diabetes, or patients with the initial stage of the disease, crocodile meat can be very useful.
Crocodilatine contains a huge amount of protein, which plays a major role in the muscle building process. 100 grams of crocodile contains more than 45 grams of protein, which is much more than chicken meat, and it is considered one of the best for bodybuilders.
Effects on the skin
In Asian countries, reptile meat is used to treat certain skin diseases. This product is believed to speed up the treatment of eczema, relieve itchy skin, including those caused by allergies. Plus, this exotic meat is beneficial for slowing aging and wrinkles. This effect is achieved due to the high concentration of proteins and the presence of amino acids necessary for the skin.
Other properties of crocodile meat
In addition to the already mentioned benefits, crocodile meat has anti-cancer properties. According to some researchers, using the product can protect oneself from cell mutation and the formation of tumors. It is also known that crocodile dishes can relieve pain in arthritis and rheumatism, as they also have anti-inflammatory properties. This product is no less useful for the liver. Chinese doctors even treated cirrhosis with crocodile meat and some herbs. And all because the protein and amino acids contained in it contribute to the regeneration of organ cells.
It is believed that people whose traditional diet contains crocodilatin have stronger immunity. In addition, this product improves bone strength. By the way, a serving of reptile fillets contains more calcium than beef. And as a source of iron, it promotes the formation of red blood cells, which are necessary to prevent anemia.
The nervous system also feels the benefits of crocodile. In particular, magnesium contained in this type of meat contributes to the correct transmission of nerve impulses, prevents the development of nervous disorders, as well as some age-related ailments such as Alzheimer's disease. This meat contains the unsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, which help maintain adequate dopamine levels, improve blood flow to the brain, and have a beneficial effect on neurons in the cerebral cortex.
Many researchers are interested in the healing properties of meat and other parts of the crocodile body. They found that crocodile cartilage has anti-carcinogenic and anti-cancer properties. In addition, scientists have carefully studied the chemical composition of the meat and blood of ancient reptiles. It turned out that their blood contains a very powerful natural antibiotic.
Scientists cherish the hope of creating a substance similar to that found in the blood of prehistoric reptiles. It is believed that it will help humanity recover from many diseases.
Some scientific research indicates that crocodile meat may contain harmful bacteria, including salmonella. Therefore, a poorly cooked food can cause a variety of illnesses, including diarrhea, typhoid fever, and liver damage. This exotic product should be treated with caution by people prone to food allergies. Pregnant women should completely abandon the consumption of such exotic food. It should also be borne in mind that mercury may be present in the body of saltwater crocodiles. These reptiles, like many fish, absorb mercury from sea water.
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Different parts of the crocodile are used in the kitchen. You can cook fillets, tail, ribs, head. Many gourmets also love crocodile legs, which taste like frog legs. The back meat is stiffer, but great for barbecues. Fillets from the front legs are great for making sausages. The meat from the tail of a reptile is considered the best: it is whiter than on other parts of the carcass, more tender and juicy. This part is used for crocodile steaks.
Crocodile meat is suitable for a wide variety of dishes. It can be added to soups, stewed, baked, fried, used for making shish kebabs, cutlets, chops. Crocodile fillet is suitable for conservation and freezing. It goes well with vegetables, mushrooms, eggs. Before cooking, the meat can be marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, ginger, rosemary and salt. Spicy herbs and green onions will help to emphasize the special taste of an exotic product. In Thai cuisine, crocodile meat is usually served fried with onions and ginger. An equally popular dish is crocodile medallions stewed in a spicy sauce. In Singapore, they love fried crocodiles, in India - curry of them, in Australia, minced crocodile is part of the national pie, and in Japanese restaurants, reptile meat is one of the most refined and expensive dishes. Americans cook reptile soups, barbecue served with bok choy. In Asia and Africa crocodile meat is considered to be one of the finest dishes in high-end restaurants.
A reptile can be cooked in the same way as other types of meat, chicken or fish. But in order for the crocodile dish to turn out as tasty and juicy as possible, you should choose the meat of young reptiles - up to 15 years of age.
Eastern culinary experts advise to combine this meat with sweet and sour or spicy sauces that best reveal its taste.
But no matter how tasty and useful the meat of this reptile is, one must understand that crocodiles, in particular Chinese alligators, have almost disappeared on the planet, and the pursuit of a modern man for a delicacy can forever erase from the face of the planet, as some believe. The most ancient of its inhabitants.