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The benefits of eating organ meat

The benefits of eating organ meat

Besides being more affordable than premium cuts of meat, organ meat is often higher in nutrients, too.


The amounts of vitamins and minerals depend on the organ and the animal. But in general, organ meat is a good source of nutrients.

What is organ meat? Is the internal organs and other parts of the animal besides muscle meat, including the brain, heart, kidneys and liver, blood, intestines and tripe (stomach lining), tongue, sweetbreads (pancreas and thymus), bones and skin.

Below are some benefits of eating organ meat:

Contains high levels of iron

Iron is necessary to make hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout your body. Meat and fish contain heme iron, the easiest form for your body to use. If you want to boost your iron intake, organ meat can be one option.

Rich in B vitamins

Organ meat is rich in B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which serve multiple important functions in the body. B6 is crucial for breaking down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also supports healthy immune function. B12 is necessary for making brain and nerve cells, DNA and red blood cells.

Packed with protein

Protein is the building block of cells. It builds new cells and repairs existing ones. Although not as high in protein as traditional muscle meat, many organ meats are still a good source of protein.

Contains alpha-lipoic acid

It doesn’t get a lot of attention, but alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has been shown to have health benefits. It protects mitochondria — the part of the cell that produces energy — from damage, and helps turn nutrients into energy. Research indicates it can be helpful for neuropathy (or nerve damage) associated with diabetes.

The body makes alpha-lipoic acid. However, production decreases as you age. You can find nutrients in foods such as spinach, tomatoes, broccoli and organ meat (beef, hearts and kidneys contain the most).

Contains fat-soluble vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins. They get absorbed along with fat and stored in fatty tissue, unlike water-soluble vitamins, which get flushed out with urine.
Organ meat is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, which contribute to vital functions in your body.

Is it safe to eat organ meat?

For the most part, yes. Organ meat is safe for most people to eat in moderation. But it’s high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which can increase blood cholesterol levels. If you have heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol, choosing leaner muscle meat is best.

Those with gout (a type of arthritis) should also watch their intake of meat, including organs. They contain purines (a naturally occurring compound), which worsens gout.
Children should also stick to smaller portions of organ meat than adults.

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