Are Organ Meats Good For You Or Not?

Is the new fad of eating animal organs something you should try and adapt into your lifestyle?

In general, I think many of the “health fads” you see today are just that, fads.

It’s not to say there’s no legitimate reason to incorporate a particular fad into your life. It also doesn’t mean said fad is going to change your life…or may be just as prominent in 10 years.

I can think of a number of “fads” that are quite impactful (like the keto diet or going gluten-free), as much as I can think of a few that aren’t going to alter your existence (like the acai fad of 15 years ago).

The point is fads sometimes have their place and sometimes are just as good being left in the dustbin of history.

I’d argue that eating organ meats is one that you should attempt to incorporate into your diet.

Why Eating Organ Meats Is Great For You and the Planet

Organ meats, like all meat, are incredibly helpful for getting adequate macronutrients in your diet.

They can also help with your micronutrient profile.

Compared to many of the traditional foods Americans eat, organ meats are vastly superior in terms of nutrients, and some of them are rich repositories of essential vitamins and minerals.

If you are already someone who eats a paleo, ketogenic, or animal-based diet, organ meats or “offal” can make you feel much better.

In addition to their rich nutrient profile, they play a crucial role in the ethical approach of using the whole animal, which appeals to both health-conscious individuals and environmental advocates.

For eons, when people slaughtered an animal, they used all of the animal.

We don’t do that here in the U.S. any longer. In some egregious cases, the organs are simply thrown into the trash, which is both wasteful and sad.

Building a diet filled with organ meats can do wonders.

Now, when I speak of eating “offal” or organ meats, this includes a variety of organs from the liver and heart to the brain and kidneys, each packed with nutrients often superior to those found in more conventional muscle meats.

I’ll explain the benefits of organ meats below:

1 – Liver: 

The liver stands out as an extraordinary source of essential nutrients. 

I know people don’t like the taste, as it may have a very “irony” taste, but there are ways around that (just search the internet for recipes and read reviews of those recipes).

The liver offers high levels of vitamin A, which is crucial for vision, skin health, and immune function, and vitamin B12, which is vital for neurological function and blood formation.

It is also high in folate, iron, copper, niacin, and zinc.

In my opinion, of all the organ meats, the liver is one of the best organs of a diet aimed at overall health optimization.

2- Heart: 

The heart, from many animals, won’t just benefit you healthwise; it can taste great, depending on how you prepare it.

The heart is rich in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which supports energy production at a cellular level and has antioxidants beneficial for maintaining cardiovascular health.

It also contains ample B vitamins, iron, and selenium. Regular consumption of heart meat can help maintain energy levels, improve stamina, and ensure healthy heart function.

3 – Kidneys:

Kidneys are an excellent source of selenium, which supports antioxidant activity and immune function.

They are also rich in vitamins B12 and riboflavin, which are crucial for energy metabolism and overall nervous system health. Kidney meat can contribute significantly to metabolic health and vitality.

I won’t lie, though. The kidney is tough to eat on its own, so many people grind it up with ground beef to eat it.

4 – Brain: 

Although less commonly consumed, the brain is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and cholesterol, essential for brain and nerve functions. DHA, in particular, is vital for developing and maintaining brain cells, making brain meats beneficial for cognitive health.

People often (and rightly so) have issues with eating brains because some species contain things called prions, which can harm humans and their hosts.

The whole “mad cow disease” thing sprung from prion activity in cow brains, affecting humans.

There are ways to get a moderate amount of brain in the diet: one is to focus on animals that aren’t affected by prions, and the other is to supplement with freeze-dried brains.

5 – Tripe: 

Tripe, or the stomach lining of ruminants, is a staple in many non-American cuisines.

Go to almost any Mexican restaurant, and you’ll see it on the menu.

Tripe offers quite a few nutrients, such as zinc and phosphorus. It also contains a type of amino acid that can soothe the gut walls, potentially aiding in better digestive health and mitigating issues like indigestion or low stomach acid.

6 -Testicles:

Yep, I know you’ve heard of people eating bull testicles before. 

Often referred to by the gentler moniker of “Rocky Mountain oysters,” these are popular in some cuisines in parts of the United States.

They’re preferred because, when prepared correctly, they can taste amazing, and they are known for their high protein content, as well as being rich in vitamins, such as vitamin C, and various minerals, such as zinc.

This organ is typically tossed in the trash after a bull is castrated, so getting it in the diet can serve you well.

 7 – Spleen:

In traditional Chinese medicine, for instance, the spleen is valued for its supposed benefits in boosting vitality and supporting a healthy immune system.

The spleen is a vital organ in red blood cell and immune system functions.

Although it’s not a common feature on most dinner tables, the spleen offers a rich source of iron, making it excellent for blood health. It’s also packed with protein. It is also high in vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium, which help boost the immune system and combat fatigue.

We don’t eat it much here, but spleen is particularly popular in traditional dishes across various cultures, including Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

More Organs And Easier Ways to Eat Them

Obviously, I only listed 7 organs here, and there are far more than that in animals.

The point here is if you have a good relationship with a farmer (or farmer’s market), you can get many of the organs when an animal is processed.

But, if you don’t…or the idea of eating organs isn’t appetizing, numerous supplements are available. To make organ meat supplements, manufacturers dry out the organs, grind them into a powder, and then put them in a pill form for easy consumption.

I think this is a phenomenal way to increase organ intake, and as far as “trends” in the health world go, eating organ meats is one that will stand the test of time.

Talk soon,
Dr. Wiggy