Organ Meats – Why You Should Eat More

11 votes, average: 5.00 out of 511 votes, average: 5.00 out of 511 votes, average: 5.00 out of 511 votes, average: 5.00 out of 511 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (11 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5) You need to be a registered member to rate this post.
Loading...
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on LinkedIn3Share on Google+1Share on Reddit0

Are you tired of eating a bland diet comprised of the same foods day-in and day-out? Chicken breast, broccoli, and brown rice is staple meal preached by gym-bros everywhere but over time, repeated consumption of this meal will lead to serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Even those consuming a fairly diverse diet may be lacking critical nutrients that support normal hormonal function, optimize recovery, and support peak-performance.

If you’re an open-minded individual with a sense of adventure that’s eager to optimize your diet, then keep reading. Organ meats are nutrient-rich superfoods that are inexpensive and taste great when properly prepared.

Related: 10 Selenium-Rich Food Sources You Should be Eating

Sadly, organ meats are often shunned in the Western diet because we associate organ meats with foul-smells and strange textures, are not educated on the nutritional benefits, and have limited recipes for preparing flavorful dishes with organ meats.

The association issue is largely psychological and as long as you purchase organ meats from a high quality butcher there’s nothing to worry about. You can quickly solve the recipe conundrum by performing a quick web search.

This article focuses on the nutritional benefits and performs a side-by-side comparison of a specific organ meat across multiple animals. A ‘winner’ from each category is crowned based on the macronutrient and micronutrient profile.

You don’t have to eat organ meats daily to obtain their maximum benefit. Start slow, incorporating one organ meat in to one meal once per week. you push yourself in the gym and on the field so why not push yourself in the kitchen?

Note: All nutrient values in the table below are based on a raw 100g serving. Protein, carbohydrate, and fat values are rounded to the nearest 0.5. The vitamin and mineral columns contain the top 3 most abundant micronutrients found in the organ meat from that animal based on the recommend daily value.

Chicken Liver

Liver

The liver is one of the most consumed organ meats in both Western and Eastern diets. Beef and chicken liver are the least expensive and most commonly prepared varieties. Goose liver, commonly called foie gras, is a delicacy in most cultures because of how the goose is fattened.

Liver

Across all animals, 100 grams of liver contains an average of 133 calories, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of fat. Turkey liver contains the lowest carbohydrate content but also the highest fat content. Beef and lamb offer the highest protein per serving but have an above-average calories content.

Liver contains very high amounts of water-soluble vitamins B12, folate, and riboflavin as well as fat-soluble vitamin A. Lamb liver has a slight edge over veal liver in the vitamin department. Liver is an excellent source of copper, zinc, selenium, iron, and phosphorus. With the exception of copper, lamb and goose liver offer reasonably high, but not excessive amounts of these nutrients.

Winner: Lamb Liver

Kidney

If there were a popularity contest for organs meats in the Western die, then t I’m willing to bet kidney would trail far behind liver. Don’t let the function of the kidney dissuade you from eating this protein-packed nutrient powerhouse. Any reputable butcher or meat preparation specialist will ensure the animal kidney is clean and suitable for consumption.

Kidney

Across all animals, 100 grams of kidney contains an average of 95 calories, 0.5 grams of carbohydrates, 16.5 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat. Kidneys are significantly lower in carbohydrates compared to liver but also contain less protein per 100 gram serving.

Pork kidney contains the lowest carbohydrate content but also the highest fat content. Sea lion kidney, slightly edges out beef with the highest protein per serving. However, beef kidney is significantly easier to find and less expensive.

Kidney contains very high amounts of water-soluble vitamins B12, riboflavin, and niacin. Pork kidney is the only variety with these three vitamins almost at or significantly over 100% of the recommended daily allowance.

Like liver, kidney is also an excellent source copper, selenium, iron, and phosphorus. All five varieties offer substantial amounts of thyroid-supporting selenium but only pork kidney provides over 50% of the recommended copper and iron daily allowance.

Winner: Pork Kidney

Heart

If you’ve been told you don’t have a heart, then I’m sorry to report that eating the heart of another animal won’t give you one. However, animal heart is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and mineral. In many Spanish-speaking countries beef heart and chicken heart is grilled on a skewer and sold on the streets as a late-night snack after a long night at the clubs.

Heart

Across all animals, 100 grams of heart contain an overage of 126 calories, 0.5 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fat. Heart contains as few carbohydrates as kidney but more fat than both liver and kidney.

Per calorie, animal heart offers a comparable amount of protein but substantially fewer vitamins and minerals compared to liver and kidney. Beef heart contains the most protein, fewest carbohydrates, and lowest fat content. Veal contains the fewest calories per serving but also contains less protein than beef heart.

Similar to liver and kidney, animal heart is also high in vitamin B12 and riboflavin. However, heart is also a great source of niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Turkey heart contains the most vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid, pork heart contains the most riboflavin and thiamin, and beef heart contains the highest amount of niacin.

Animal heart contains moderate amounts of selenium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and zinc. Turkey heart is the only variety to contain more than 50% of the recommended selenium intake as well as the highest phosphorus content and moderate iron content.

Winner: Turkey Heart

The Top 3 Organ Meats to Eat

Based on our macronutrient and micronutrient comparison above, the top 3 organ meats are:

  • Lamb Liver
  • Pork Kidney
  • Turkey Heart

While you may be unable to easily find these three organ meats from their respective animals, you should have much less trouble finding the equivalent cuts from cows and chicken. If you can’t find them in the grocery store then try your local butcher, farmer’s market, multicultural market, or specialty foods store.

Challenge yourself to purchase at least one organ meat and prepare one dish for one day of the week. This challenge will expand your cooking acumen, increase the diversity of your diet, and nourish your body without breaking the bank.

If you enjoyed reading or have any questions regarding the micronutrient and macronutrient comparison of animal liver, kidney, and heart, then let me know in the comments below. With enough positive feedback I’ll write a part two discussing the less-popular organ meats rarely if ever consumed in the Western diet.

References

1) “Basic Report: 17202, Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
2) “Basic Report: 05150, Goose, liver, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
3) “Basic Report: 05027, Chicken, liver, all classes, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
4) “Basic Report: 05177, Turkey, liver, all classes, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
5) “Basic Report: 13325, Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
6) “Basic Report: 17199, Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
7) “Basic Report: 10110, Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
8) “Basic Report: 17367, Lamb, New Zealand, imported, kidney, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
9) “Basic Report: 13323, Beef, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
10) “Basic Report: 17197, Veal, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
11) “Basic Report: 10106, Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
12) “Basic Report: 35227, Sea lion, Steller, kidney (Alaska Native).” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
13) “Basic Report: 05025, Chicken, heart, all classes, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
14) “Basic Report: 05175, Turkey, heart, all classes, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
15) “Basic Report: 17191, Lamb, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
16) “Basic Report: 13321, Beef, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
17) “Basic Report: 17193, Veal, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.
18) “Basic Report: 10103, Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. September 2016.

Total Views: 1264
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on LinkedIn3Share on Google+1Share on Reddit0

Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.