3 Reasons You Should Absolutely Avoid Eating Organ Meats
Organ meats, 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. However, hunter-gatherers didn’t just eat muscle meat. They ate the organs too, such as brains, intestines and even testicles. In fact, the organs were highly prized.
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 of Organ Meat ?
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.
- There are not many drawbacks to incorporating organ meats into your diet. That said, some people may be more vulnerable to high intakes and need to limit their consumption.
People With Gout Need to Moderate Intake
Gout is a common type of arthritis. It’s caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which causes joints to become swollen and tender.
Purines in the diet form uric acid in the body. Organ meats are particularly high in purines, so it’s important to eat these foods in moderation if you have gout.
Pregnant Women Should Watch Their Intake
Organ meats are rich sources of vitamin A, especially liver. During pregnancy, vitamin A plays an essential role in fetal growth and development. However, the National Institutes of Health recommend an upper intake level of 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day, as excessive intakes have been associated with serious birth defects and abnormalities.
Such birth defects include heart, spinal cord and neural tube defects, abnormalities of the eyes, ears and nose, and defects within the digestive tract and kidneys.
One study reported that pregnant mothers who consume more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day from food have an 80% higher risk of having a child with a birth defect, compared to mothers who consume 5,000 IU or less per day.
Therefore, it’s important to monitor your intake of organ meats during pregnancy, especially if you are taking supplements containing vitamin A.