Organ meats were once a cherished and prized food source. Nowadays, the tradition of eating organ meats has slightly fallen out of favor. Many people may shy away from eating organ meat, however there are huge benefits to consuming the protein-rich food. According to “Authority Nutrition”
organ meats are actually quite nutritious. Organ meats are sometimes referred to as “offal,” are the organs of animals that humans prepare and consume as food.
The most commonly consumed organs come from cows, pigs, lambs, goats, chickens and ducks.
Today, most animals are born and raised for their muscle tissues. Organ meats are often overlooked, with most meat typically consumed as steaks, drumsticks or ground into mince.
Organ meats can be a great addition to your diet. They’re packed with nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and folate, and they’re also an excellent source of iron and protein.
What Are the Different Types?
The most common types of organ meat include:
Liver: Liver is the detox organ. It’s also the nutritional powerhouse of organ meats and sometimes referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.”
Tongue: Tongue is actually more of a muscle. It’s a tender and tasty cut of meat due to its high fat content.
Heart: The role of the heart is to pump blood around the body. It may not look edible, but it’s actually lean and tasty.
Kidneys: Like humans, mammals have two kidneys. Their role is to filter waste and toxins out of the blood.
Brain: Brain is considered a delicacy in many cultures, and it’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Sweetbreads: Sweetbreads have a deceiving name, as they are neither sweet nor a type of bread. They are made from the thymus gland and pancreas.
Tripe: Tripe is the lining of animal stomach. Most tripe is from cattle and can have a very chewy texture.
Organ Meats Are Highly Nutritious
The nutrition profile of organ meat varies slightly, depending on the animal source and organ type.
But most organs are extremely nutritious. In fact, most are more nutrient-dense than muscle meat.
They are particularly rich in B-vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folate. They are also rich in minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, and important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. What’s more, animal protein provides all nine essential amino acids that your body needs to function effectively.
Benefits of Adding Organ Meats to Your Diet
Eating organ meats has several benefits:
Excellent source of iron: Meat contains heme iron, which is highly bioavailable, so it’s better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron from plant foods.
Keeps you fuller for longer: Many studies have shown that high-protein diets can reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. They may also promote weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate.
May help retain muscle mass: Organ meats are a source of high-quality protein, which is important for building and retaining muscle mass.
Cheaper cuts and reduced waste: Organ meats are not a popular cut of meat, so you can often get them at a cheap price. Eating these parts of the animal also reduces food waste.
Developing a Taste for Organ Meats
Organ meats are becoming increasingly popular in fine-dining restaurants due to their strong and unique flavors.
Because it can take some time to develop a taste for organ meats, it may be best to start off with the more mildly flavored organs like tongue and brain.
You can also try grinding up liver and kidneys and combining them with beef or pork mince in dishes such as Bolognese.
Alternatively, add them to a slow-cooked stew with other meats such as lamb shank. This can help you gradually develop a taste for these stronger flavors.
The Bottom Line
Organ meats are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals that can be hard to obtain from other foods.
If you enjoy eating meat, it could be worthwhile to substitute some muscle meat with organ meat.
Not only will it provide you with some additional nutrition, but it’s also easy on the wallet and will benefit the environment.