Organ Meats and the Paleo Diet
Posted on November 09 2015
Why Organ Meat?
Our early ancestors used to enjoy eating organ meats, and the muscle meat somehow wasn’t as appealing. We would consume large amounts of organ meat, and this is how we were able to get adequate nutrients in our diet. The organ meats are by far the most nutrient dense part of the animal. The organ meat is where most of the flavor and nutrients are. However, we have moved so far in the opposite direction, that we actually fear organ meat (usually throwing this part of the animal away) and often only eat the muscle meat. We want to shed some light on the importance of organ meat, and why you should incorporate it into your diet. This is especially true for individuals who struggle with autoimmune conditions, and are looking for some healing.
Organ Meat Nutrition
Although we may be accustomed to consuming the muscle meat, the organs contain much more nutrient dense sources of all the B vitamins. The B Vitamins help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. While many of the B Vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits. Some benefits of B Vitamins included: making healthy cells, fighting free radicals, transporting Oxygen throughout the body, protecting against migraines, increasing good cholesterol, supporting mental health, producing hormones, and even promoting healthy skin and hair.
Organ meats also contain a great deal of important minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese. These minerals help keep our bones strong, help with energy production, nerve and muscle function, keeping the immune system strong and fighting off infections. Because our soils are so depleted (due to modern farming practices) consuming organ meats are a great way to ensure you are getting adequate minerals in the paleo diet.
Organ meats provide fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Liver is an extremely concentrated source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in reproductive health, as well as eye health. According to Chris Kresser:
“Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in animal products like liver and grass-fed dairy. You’d have to eat a huge amount of beta-carotene from plants to meet vitamin A requirements during pregnancy. For example, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 27,000 IU of vitamin A. As the chart below illustrates, to get the same amount of vitamin A from plants (assuming a 3% conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A), you’d have to eat 4.4 pounds of cooked carrots, 40 pounds of raw carrots, and 50 cups of cooked kale!”
Vitamins A and D are synergistic vitamins. They are best assimilated in the body when taken together. They come together in their natural form in organ meats. Just a small portion of organ meats contain a healthy serving of all these essential fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin E helps with circulation, tissue repair, healing, deactivation of free radicals, and slowing aging. Vitamin E is also found in abundance in organ meat.
Grass-Fed Organ Meat is Even Better
Grass-fed organ meat also contain the amazing vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is an important fat-soluble vitamin that plays critical roles in protecting your heart and brain, and building strong bones. It also plays an important role in cancer protection. Vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the right areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth, while removing calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues. All the fat soluble vitamins work synergistically, which is why consuming organ meat is far superior to taking any isolated supplement.
As you can see, there is no other “superfood” that contains all of these needed nutrients together than organ meat. Although it’s hard for us to grasp the concept of consuming organ meat, we can change our perception by giving them a try and reaping the health benefits!