Hailed as the most nutrient-rich food on the planet, organ meats are making their comeback and for that, we should be thankful!
Nose-to-tail eating was commonplace among our hunter-gatherer ancestors and organ meats were regularly incorporated until most recently our grandparent's generation. It wasn’t until the last 100 years or so that this style of eating was eradicated, and much to the detriment of our health.
If you're like many of us, you grew up with a grandmother who made liver and onions and eating organ meat was an awful experience fraught with negative emotions. However, our grandmothers were right! It's time to bring these nutritional powerhouse foods back into our diets. Many client are able to stop taking expensive supplementation just by adding organ meats into their diets. One of my favorite ways to incorporate organs is eating Windy Meadows Country Chicken Sausage. Shoot me an email if you would like to join my pasture-raised chicken co-op and try this delicious sausage.
In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the triumphant return of organ meats, their incredible-nutrient profile, and how to begin incorporating them into your diet for whole-body health benefits.
What are organ meats?
Organ meats are most popularly used from beef, pork, lamb, or poultry.
To truly obtain all of the nutrients you need to thrive, organs like liver, bone marrow, spleen, heart, kidney, thymus, intestines, and testicle are crucial (1). Organ meats are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals that can be hard to obtain from other foods, including muscle meat.
What are the benefits of eating organ meat?
While the amounts of vitamins and minerals depend on the organ and the animal, organ meats are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet.
Organ meats contain high levels of iron, including heme iron, the easiest form for your body to use (2). They are rich in B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which serve multiple important functions in your body (3). Organ meats provides many essential minerals, including magnesium, selenium, and zinc, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (4). They also contain alpha-lipoic acid as well as a good source of protein (5). Lastly, incorporating organ meats may help you retain muscle mass and keep you fuller longer.
What is the best organ meat to eat?
While all organs are incredible, liver has been touted as nature’s multivitamin and its nutrient levels cannot be beaten. Rich in retinol/vitamin A, liver is very helpful for those with skin problems. It is also a great source of folate and choline, and vitamin B12 levels that are unmatched (6).
How to regularly incorporate organ meats?
If you’re just beginning to include organ meats on your health journey, start with ground meat and organs together. It’s the easiest way to season and hide the stronger flavors if these are new to your palate. If you have a relationship with a local farmer, they likely already offer this on their butcher menu!
Otherwise, start with bone broth! Bone broth is a nutrient gold mine, containing 17 amino acids, and over a dozen vitamins and minerals (7). Bone broth is also a rich source of collagen, which makes up 30 percent of the protein in your body (8). The advantages of bone broth are bountiful, ranging from skin, bone, and joint health to brain, gut, and cardiovascular benefits (9)!
How to source organ meats
When sourcing organ meat, just like muscle meat, you’re going to want to look for pasture-raised or grass-fed/grass-finished and organic.
There are a few ways to find this:
First, your local organic farmer, ideally one that practices sustainable or regenerative agriculture. You can find your local farm on farmmatch.com by simply put in your zip code.
Second, you can utilize an online butcher like nosetotail.org where they proudly incorporate every part of the animal while ensuring the quality is top-notch.
Lastly, if you’re not ready to embark on eating organ meats, you can utilize a supplement with desiccated organs, like those from heartandsoil.co.
Eating nose to tail and incorporating organ meats is an incredible step on your health journey and a fantastic way to support your body, the animals, and our environment!
1. Fact Checked by Dr. Paul Saladino Written by Paul Saladino Evidence based. “The Beginner's Guide to Nose to Tail Eating.” Heart & Soil Supplements, 28 Oct. 2022, https://heartandsoil.co/nose-to-tail-nourishment/.
2-5. Zaleska. “Benefits and Risks of Organ Meat – Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials.” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 4 Dec. 2022, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/organ-meat-benefits/.
6. Dr. Will Cole. “The Amazing Health Benefits of Organ Meats.” Dr. Will Cole, 4 Jan. 2021, https://drwillcole.com/food/the-complete-functional-medicine-guide-to-organ-meats.
7-9. Chris Kresser, M.S. “Nose-to-Tail Eating: Everything You Need to Know.” Chris Kresser, 29 Sept. 2022, https://chriskresser.com/nose-to-tail-eating-everything-you-need-to-know/.