Why Would You Want to Eat Organ Meats?

Why Would You Want to Eat Organ Meats?

Sola Bars are vegan and our bars cater to healthy vegan eating, but if you’re a meat eater or sometimes feel you need some of the nutrients of meat protein, you probably stay with popular cuts of meat and poultry, not those internal parts. The culture here in the U.S. is such that organ meats are what you feed your pet or farm animal or leave it to the livestock processors to use or discard them. To eat them yourself? Yuck! But before you turn your nose up at organ meats, there are some health points worth mentioning about offal (and we don’t mean “awful”).

Our early ancestors who would go hunting for wild game didn’t toss out the liver, kidney, heart, brain and other internal parts of their kill. They ate just about every part of the animal, not just muscle meat (regular parts you buy in the store). In fact, organ meats were highly prized. Why? Organ meats just so happens to be the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential amino acids.


The Organ Meat Menu

The most commonly consumed organs come from cows, pigs, lambs, goats, chickens, and ducks. Let’s go over them, one by one and learn why they are a smart addition to your diet.

Liver. Liver is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A of any foods, contains dozens of important vitamins and minerals, and is an abundant source of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 (and other B-Vitamins), omega-3 fatty acids, as well as copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, and iron. And iron in this form is easily absorbed and used by the body.

Kidney. Kidney is particularly high in Vitamin B12, selenium, iron, copper, phosphorus and zinc.

Heart. The heart is lean and tasty. It contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat which are essential for our connective tissue health, joint and digestive health. If you have weak muscles, are recovering from a sprain, get some heart.

Brain. Now things get a little dicey. But brain is a delicacy in many cultures; not so much here in the U.S. It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Tongue. Ok, tongue can look disgusting and it’s not so much an organ as a muscle, but it’s tender and has a high fat content – the good fat.

Sweetbread. A pretty name for the thymus gland and pancreas, sweetbreads aren’t sweet and they’re not bread (go figure). They are made from the thymus gland and pancreas. These glands are rich in trace minerals zinc and selenium good for hormonal function and immunity. They are also rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation.

Tripe and Intestines. Tripe is the lining of the animal’s stomach – usually sheep, goats, cows and deer. Most tripe is from cattle and can have a very chewy texture, so it’s best to cook thoroughly and use in soups and stews. This is a source of micronutrients, gelatin and probiotics for tissue and digestive health. Intestines are a terrific source of gelatin and glutamine which are key for stabilizing and improving leaky gut.


Other Benefits

  • Besides being heavy in all those B vitamins, and minerals, organ meats can keep you fuller for longer. If you’re dieting it can help with your weight loss and metabolic rate.
  • Organ meats may help your muscles because they are a source of high-quality protein, which is important for building and retaining muscle mass.
  • A great source of choline, organ meats are an essential nutrient for brain, muscle, and liver health in which many of us are deficient.
  • Organ meats are usually less expensive than muscle meats because they’re not as much in demand.
  • By eating these less popular animal parts you’re reducing food waste.


RDI Can Be Off the Chart

Look at how 3-1/2 ounces of beef liver affects your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamins:

  • Vitamin B12: 1,386% of the RDI
  • Copper: 730% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 522% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 201% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 87% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 51% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 47% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 35% of the RDI
  • Iron: 34% of the RDI

All that for 27 grams of protein and only 175 calories.


Quality Reigns Supreme

Granted, eating meat organs does have some issues. Not all organ meats are created equal. Quality is essential. The best way to reduce the possibility of eating an organ from an animal shot with hormones and antibiotics and fed with GMO feed is to know and trust the source of your meat. Organ meat should come from a grass-fed, pastured animal, not from a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) where the bottom line is growing livestock fast for higher profits and the health and well-being of animals come second.


Why Is Organ Meat Demonized?

Looking back around the end of the 18th century, industrialization came to farming. Before that, animals were raised mostly by small, family-run farms. Meat consumption rapidly increased when commercial production methods crowded the market. It was about that time that organ meats fell out of popularity. They were too time-consuming for companies to mess with. What was once accepted and enjoyed is now shunned because often what we’re not familiar with we are hesitant to try.


Do Some Research

Finding good quality organ meat – or any organ meat – can be a challenge. You’re likely to find beef and chicken livers and maybe kidneys in the grocery store, but beyond that, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere. That said, more organ meats do show up in supermarkets around holiday seasons.

Scout around for a local butcher shop, meat processors, or farmers market for vendors who raise grass-fed pastured animals.

Asian, Hispanic, and other ethnic markets whose culture enjoys organ meats are good sources of non-traditional meat.

Buy Direct from farmers. Check LocalHarvest.org is a national directory of over 30,000 farms and farmers markets across the U.S.

Some meat suppliers sell organs along with their other meat products online and can be shipped out to you. Do an online search. You may have to shoot the vendor an email or make a phone call to see if organ meats are among the products they sell. One is https://grasslandbeef.com/all-organs-2.