Eating native meats such as kangaroo, wallaby, crocodile, yabbies, magpie goose, eel, emu, goanna, shark, jelly fish, witchetty grubs and stingray is more sustainable and better for the environment than most other meat consumption. As these are native to the Australian environment, animals like the kangaroo can get by on eating a variety of native scrub and do not rely on the production of grain. Likewise, as they are wild animals they do not need to be farmed in the “European way”, which requires land clearing and the destruction of habitat for other native species. Kangaroo is an especially lean meat with less than 2% fat, making it a healthier red meat option. It is also high in protein, essential B vitamins, minerals such as zinc, iron and omega 3 fats and omega 6 fatty acids. Compared to beef, kangaroo contains double the amount of iron and triple that of chicken and pork. Eating wild meats such as kangaroo is also better for your health as you can be sure there are no added growth hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.
Research into the Health Benefits of Australian Native Foods shows that Australian natives contain superior antioxidants qualities. Native foods tested contained hydrophilic and lipophilic fractions, which offer more protection from oxidative stress and may provide other considerable health benefits compared to more common fruits which have only hydrophilic antioxidants. Kakadu plum and quandong, Tasmanian pepperberry leaf, lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle had outstanding results in the antioxidant category.
The Australian native species contained vitamin E, highest in the herbs aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle and Tasmania pepperberry leaf and was also found in the Kakadu plum, quandong and desert lime.
Aniseed myrtle had the richest source of lutein which is good for eye health and contained more than avocado, which is a primary source of lutein. Lemon myrtle, Tasmanian pepperberry leaf, Kakadu plum, desert lime and Davidson’s plum all contained higher levels of Lutein than avocado.
Australian desert lime had the richest source of folate or B9, 10 times greater than blueberry. Tasmania pepperberry leaf, quandong, Kakadu plum, riberry and lemon aspen also contained folate, almost 3 times higher than blueberry.
Vitamin C levels were outstanding in Kakadu plum and in the Australian desert lime.
All of the native foods tested contained 3 minerals important for genome/DNA health, such as magnesium, calcium and zinc. Tasmania pepperberry leaf and wattleseed were good sources of all three. Lemon myrtle was very rich in calcium and aniseed myrtle was rich in magnesium. Quandong was rich in magnesium and zinc and Australian desert lime rich in Calcium.
Bush tomato, Tasmanian pepperberry leaf and wattleseed contained rich sources of iron in the herbs and spices and quandong and lemon aspen showed rich sources of iron in the fruits. Selenium, which is poorly found in foods because many soils are deficient, was found in bush tomato and wattleseed.
A high potassium sodium ratio in Davidson’s plum, Australian desert lime and Kakadu plum was found. A High potassium sodium ratio is important to prevent hypertension.
The known benefits are already enough to include these in a healthy balanced diet, nutritionists are already looking to Australia’s superfoods for the future of nutritional health. Research into the ‘Health Benefits of Australian Native Foods, RIRDC’, Australian Government.
Looking to use some of these natives at home? Check out NATIF Native Superfoods for more information.