A lot of people in the wellness community talk about “superfoods.” To be honest, I don’t usually buy into the whole “superfoods” thing. If anything is a superfood, though? I’m voting for organ meats.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll tell you again – organ meats truly are nutritional POWERHOUSES. When it comes to organ meats, there are a ton of different options – tongue heart, livers, kidneys… the list goes on. I started incorporating organ meats into my diet about a year ago, and I truly believe they’ve had a monumentally positive effect on my health. Thanks to all of the very in-depth testing I get done with my FMD, I could actually see noticeable improvements in the levels of different vitamins and minerals in my body.
I’m not sure why, but people nowadays seem to be repulsed by organ meats. It’s really not that weird to eat them. A lot of traditional cultures reserved organ meats for the most important people in society. Some societies actually only ate organ meats and would throw away the muscle meats, a.k.a the part of the animal that we typically eat today. Organ meats have been pretty commonplace in people’s diets up until relatively recently, if you really think about it. There’s a good chance your grandma has a good liver recipe hiding in her recipe book!
Not only are organ meats NOT “weird” to eat, but they’re actually incredibly important to include in your diet, in my opinion. Like I said, organ meats are superfoods. Especially livers. Livers contain a ton of nutrients that are extremely hard to get from any other food sources. Consuming livers has actually been shown to increase energy, improve brain function, and help with muscle growth. It even increases libido! Bet that caught your attention. 😉
Let’s talk about the nutrient density. You can’t compare it to any other food. Organ meats have the highest concentration of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins you’ll find in any food source. Liver is the best source of all of the B vitamins, especially B12. Organ meats are also a great source of vitamin A (retinol – hello pretty skin!) and pre-made vitamin D. They’re also full of zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals. Organ meats also contain a high concentration of the fat-soluble vitamins, D, A, E, and K, as well as omega-3s. You know I love those healthy fats! Organ meats are also an amazing source of creatine, carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and Coenzyme Q10! Heart is actually the best source of CoQ10, which is extremely important for energy production and reducing oxidative stress. For all of you Dave Asprey fans, you know how important it is to help your mitochondria function at their best! CoQ10 is also especially important for anyone who suffers from a chronic illness.
Of all organ meats, my favorite is liver. It’s actually the easiest for me to find, and luckily, it’s probably the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Liver especially is an extremely concentrated source of Vitamin A, folate, choline, and B12. In terms of B12, liver really stands out – it has more than you’ll find pretty much anywhere else. If you don’t like egg yolks, then liver is a great option for getting more choline into your diet.
Someone recently asked me if it’s safe to eat livers if livers store toxins in your body. Well, the liver actually neutralizes the toxins in your body – it doesn’t store the toxins. What the liver stores are the important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, folic acid, iron, copper, etc.) that get rid of the toxins. If the toxins end up being stored, it’s normally in the body’s fatty tissues. So yes, eating livers is more than safe. It’s desirable!
I really want to encourage you to try new foods in your diet – especially when they are extremely nutrient dense like organ meats. I know a lot of people are turned off by the idea of organ meats. Some don’t like the idea of it, while others don’t like the taste. If you don’t like the idea of it, then you really just need to have an open mindset and try it. Just because it’s not pretty and topped with a flower on Instagram doesn’t mean it won’t taste amazing or make you feel incredible.
People always ask me how I eat livers. I personally love the taste of liver, and I eat it like any other protein source. I cook it the same way I cook chicken, beef, or fish, and I just pair it with veggies on my plate. However, there are definitely more creative ways to incorporate organ meats into meals.
If you don’t like the taste, then I have a few ideas for slipping organ meats into your diet. I think a good starting place is to hide it in other foods so you don’t really realize you’re eating an organ meat. Here‘s a great recipe for liver pate from Diane Sanfilippo from Balanced Bites, and here is another delicious recipe for Rosemary Balsamic Chicken liver Pate from Leanne Vogel from Healthful Pursuits. I think pate’s are a great way to dip into organ meats, if you catch my drift! 😉
Another sneaky way to add organ meats into dishes are to cut them up into very small pieces, blend them, and add the liquid into soups or sauces. You could put it in chili, pasta sauce, or any other dip. It’s a great way to still get the nutrients in without actually tasting the organ meat.
It might be less intimidating to start with heart or tongue, which have a milder taste than livers to many people. They also might look more appetizing. Beef tongue is pretty easy to cook, and a lot of people say heart tastes like steak.
When cooking organ meats, remember that they stay juicer when they’re not cooked for as long, and they also hold more vitamins that way. If you want them crispy, dry them before cooking. I usually like to just sauté livers in a pan with coconut oil or duck fat, salt, and pepper. I love ’em plain like that. However, I also think organ meats are really nice when made in the slow cooker, because they’re left soft and moist.
Another pro is that organ meats are usually extremely cheap. I get my livers from the Farmer’s Market or from Whole Foods if they happen to have them in stock. Make sure the livers are from healthy animals – grass-fed and pasture-raised. If you can get beef liver, I highly suggest that! However, any organ meats will have a ton of health benefits.
I hope that this got you at least a little curious about organ meats. I personally love them – liver is a true superfood in my eyes! I’ll be sharing one of my favorite liver recipes later this week, so keep an eye out for that!
Do you incorporate organ meats into your diet? I would love to hear how you like to eat them!