London: A couple of portions of horsemeat a week lowers cholesterol and boosts blood iron levels, scientists have found.
Horsemeat is very high in iron, with one 150g portion providing up to a half of the daily-recommended intake, and very low in saturated fats, which are associated with high cholesterol, said the researchers from the University of Milan.
In fact, they have discovered that horse has some of the health-boosting qualities that have been associated with fish, and it has up to 40 per cent fewer calories and more protein than other meats, the Independent reported.
In a new study, men aged 20 to 50 ate two 175g portions of horsemeat a week for three months while a second group ate other meat, but avoided horse.
Blood samples were taken from all the men for testing at the start of the trial and after 45 and 90 days.
Results showed that horsemeat consumption significantly reduced levels of total and bad cholesterol. The former dropped by 6 per cent, and bad cholesterol by 9.1 per cent.
Horsemeat is an important source of omega 3 and iron and, compared to other meats, is very low in saturated fatty acids but rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) like fish and other seafood, the researchers noted.
They suggested that regular consumption of horsemeat might help improve cholesterol and iron status in healthy people.