Carnivores gather around. If you are a meat-eater, you probably already have your favorites: bison, grass-fed beef, heritage pork, lamb, pastured poultry, and maybe even wild-caught seafood. All of these are delicious options that each offer their own unique set of nutrients. However, many meat-eaters are overlooking one of the healthiest parts of an animal – the organs. The nutritional value of organ meats makes them some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Here is everything you need to know about organ meats.
What are Organ Meats?
Organ meats often referred to as offal, are the organs of animals prepared and consumed as food. The most commonly consumed organs come from bison, chickens, cows, lamb, and sometimes goats. The most popular organ meats are the heart, kidney, and liver. While other options include the brain, cheek, tongue, intestines, testicles, tripe (stomach), and sweetbreads (pancreas).
Today, most animals are raised for their muscle tissue, which means organ meats are often overlooked. We get it. Who wants to order chicken liver when they can have a hot sizzling steak straight off the grill? However, organ meats are incredibly nourishing.
Benefits of Eating Organ Meats
Depending on the animal and the organ, the nutritional profile will vary slightly, but overall, most organ meat is extremely nutritious. In fact, most organ meat is more nutrient-dense than muscle meat. (Step aside steaks).
Organ meats are packed with nutrients like B-vitamins, including B-12, choline, and folate. Organ meats are also rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. They include important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Basically, organ meats are considered nature’s multivitamin.
Organ meats contain all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs to function effectively and properly, making them an excellent source of high-quality protein. As a reminder, a diet high in protein can reduce your appetite and increase feelings of satiety. This can potentially reduce cravings and lead to less mindless snacking during the day. That liver is looking pretty good now, isn’t it?
Besides being beneficial to overall health and wellness, purchasing organ meats reduces food waste. Plus, organ meats are usually not the most popular cuts of meat being requested at the local butcher counter or online, so you can often find them at a cheaper price than more traditional muscle meats.
How to Develop a Taste for Organ Meats
If you are a carnivore, eating grass-fed, pasture-raised meat is always important no matter which part of the animal is on your plate, but if you are curious to try organ meats, start small with mild-flavored organs like the heart or tongue.
Add some ground liver to your homemade burger recipe or that Bolognese sauce for an undetectable nutrient boost. Get creative and make an Organ Meat Pie. Include organ meats in slow-cooked stews, along with other familiar and favorite cuts of muscle meat to help you ease into new tastes and textures. You can even try organ sausages, like head cheese and liverwurst, which embody a wonderful blend of organ meats.
Organ meats do not have to be intimidating. Not only are they delicious and nutritious, but they are easy on the wallet and can help reduce overall food waste, which helps benefit the entire planet. If you enjoy eating meat, try including organ meats in some of your favorite recipes or substitute them into your weekly meal rotation.
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