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The human consumption of food animal products is the main topic of an important debate among professionals in this sector: dietologists, dietitians and nutritional biologists. The red meat provides all the essential amino acids, bioavailable iron, zinc, calcium, lipids and B-group vitamins. A valid alternative to beef could be the buffalo meat. Italy is the largest European producer of buffalo meat and derivatives. The high nutritional characteristics of buffalo meat make it suitable to be included in the Mediterranean diet to customize it in relation to the needs and conditions of the population. Polyunsaturated/saturated fatty acids ratio can be influenced by diet, breed and type of breeding, but muscle tissue fat percentage is the main factor in determining a favorable fatty acid composition. This review focuses on the biochemical and nutritional characteristics of the buffalo meat (content of fats, cholesterol, amino acids, vitamins and minerals), explaining their variability depending on the different breeds, and the favorable implications on the human health. These results suggest that buffalo meat can be a healthier alternative to beef, not only for healthy people in particular physiological conditions (i.e. pregnancy), but also for persons at risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, thus achieving the goal of a personalized nutrition.
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