HEALTH BENEFITS OF WAGYU
According to Washington State University, “Wagyu beef is the highest quality meat in the world”. Washington State University has spent more than a decade researching Wagyu genetics and how they compare with other beef breeds in an extensive study at Washington State University in the United States.
Evidence in the United States, Australia and elsewhere indicates that the marbling in Wagyu beef contributes markedly not only to tenderness and juiciness but importantly to taste. Wagyu has a softer fat which improves the meat flavour and taste. The improvement is due to the higher ratio of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) to saturated fatty acids. The Intra Muscular Fat (IMF) of Wagyu cattle is twice as high in mono unsaturated fat as traditional breeds. This results in a ‘healthier’ product. Research that first identified this higher level of mono-unsaturated fat in Wagyu cattle has also considered that this is the explanation for the characteristic superior flavour.
Other research have indicated that fatty acids found in Wagyu beef play a role in cancer prevention. A review on the effects of fatty acids on breast cancer has reported that concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid = 1% in diets is sufficient to provide significant protection from cancer according to Charles Gaskins PHD Beef Cattle Genetics and Statistics, Washington State University. Marbling is also the most reliable component of meat taste and tenderness. Wagyu are most renowned for their inherent marbling ability or intramuscular fat (IMF). They have recorded 17% more IMF by chemical extraction than any other breed.
In South Africa we have been educated to eat lean meat. This coincided with the move to breed animals with superior growth rates which has resulted in production of carcasses that do not ‘finish’ well because they are excessively lean. Excessive leanness results in a meat product which will produce an unsatisfactory eating experience because of lack of juiciness, flavour and tenderness.