Pieces of raw beef heart with some herbs and the words "discover beef heart nutrition"

Discover Beef Heart Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide To Vitality

Beef heart nutrition; what’s the crack?

Well, it’s one of Mother Nature’s wonders. Alongside other organ meats such as liver and kidney, beef heart is one of the most nutrient dense food on earth.

As you’ll see when you read on, it blows vegetables out of the water when we’re talking about the goodness they provide.

Packed with protein, rich in B vitamins, and loaded with vital minerals, beef heart is a formidable player in a healthy diet, delivering bioavailable nutrients.

Before delving into detailed health advantages and culinary practices, let’s highlight the key nutrients that make beef heart an attractive food choice for both taste and wellness.

TL;DR

  • Beef heart is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in protein, essential vitamins like B12, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium, supporting muscle development, energy production, and immune health.
  • Cooking beef heart involves proper cleaning, marinating for flavor, and using methods like grilling, braising, or pan-frying to achieve tenderness. It can also be incorporated into stews or ground mixes for those hesitant about its taste.
  • Regular consumption of beef heart can enhance energy levels, boost immune function, and promote heart health due to its content of iron, zinc, selenium, and Coenzyme Q10.

The Nutritional Profile of Beef Heart

Often overlooked as an edible organ, the beef heart is a nutrient-dense meat boasting an impressive nutritional profile. Packed with protein, rich in essential vitamins, and carrying a variety of minerals, it is a healthy addition to any diet.

Let’s take a look at a nutrient breakdown in the following table alongside the king of organ meats, liver and spinach & broccoli, known for their iron so we can see just how powerful beef heart is in comparison.

Nutrient (per 100g)Beef HeartBeef LiverSpinachBroccoliRDA/AI (Adults)
Calories (kcal)1121352334Not Applicable
Protein (g)17.720.42.92.846-56 g
Fat (g)3.93.60.40.420-35% of calories
Carbohydrates (g)0.13.93.66.6130 g
Fiber (g)002.22.625-38 g
Vitamins:
– Vitamin A (IU)016,8999,377623700-900 µg
– Vitamin C (mg)22728.189.275-90 mg
– Vitamin B12 (µg)8.559.300.02.4 µg
– Thiamine (B1) (mg)0.20.260.0780.0711.1-1.2 mg
– Riboflavin (B2) (mg)0.93.40.1890.1171.1-1.3 mg
– Niacin (B3) (mg)8.516.50.7240.63914-16 mg
– Pantothenic Acid (B5) (mg)1.57.00.0650.5735 mg
– Folate (µg)3.029019463400 µg
Minerals:
– Iron (mg)4.56.92.70.78-18 mg
– Calcium (mg)8599471000-1200 mg
– Magnesium (mg)18187921310-420 mg
– Zinc (mg)1.54.00.530.418-11 mg
– Phosphorus (mg)2123874966700 mg
– Copper (mg)0.1120.1300.0450.9 mg
– Selenium (µg)9.239.712.555 µg
Other Nutrients:
– CoQ10 (mg)1.3-3.01.3-3.9Not significantNot significantNot established

These comparisons alongside plant-based foods always amaze me. Foods such as spinach and broccoli are touted for their health boosting benefits, yet meats and especially organ meats get little lime light even though they’re clearly superior.

That’s why I call them Mother Nature’s Superfoods.

Curious to know more? We’ll unpack its nutritional value for clearer understanding.

Protein Powerhouse

Beginning with the most obvious; the protein beef heart provides. A single 100g serving offers a whopping 17.7g grams of protein, which is fundamental for muscle development and recovery. Perfect for those keen on building and sustaining lean muscle tissue.

If you’re someone who struggles with hunger pangs, here’s some good news. The high protein content in beef heart can help suppress appetite while boosting muscle mass and strength.

The result? Sustained energy levels throughout the day and a healthier, fitter body.

Vitamin Rich

Beef heart doesn’t just stop at protein. It packs a load of essential B vitamins, including:

  • Thiamine (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  • B12

These vitamins play a crucial role in energy production, reducing fatigue, and supporting overall cell health, including elastin collagen maintenance.

However, it’s Vitamin B12 that steals the show in beef heart, offering an impressive 354% of the Recommended Daily Intake in just a 100g serving. This vitamin plays a key part in red blood cell production and bolstering immune health.

Additionally, the choline found in beef heart contributes to mental health and brain health by aiding in the formation of brain membranes, thereby supporting memory, muscle control, and mood regulation.

Mineral Magic

As we venture into minerals, beef heart proves to be a great source of iron, fulfilling 24% of the daily value, which assists in immune function and wound healing.

Additionally, this organ meat, along with other organ meats, boasts 1.7 mg of zinc per 100 grams, which is instrumental in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Adding to the mineral magic, beef heart also includes a significant amount of:

  • Phosphorus, meeting 22% of the Recommended Daily Intake, which helps maintain bones and teeth.
  • Copper and selenium, which are vital for enzyme activity, red blood cell production, organ maintenance, and providing 48% of selenium’s Recommended Daily Value.
  • Magnesium, contributing to 6% of the Recommended Daily Value, further enriches the overall nutrient intake.

Cooking Beef Heart: Techniques and Tips

A person marinating beef heart slices in a bowl with herbs and spices

Having highlighted the nutritional strength of beef heart, it’s time we switch our focus to cooking. Proper cleaning, marinating, and cooking methods are essential to transform this organ meat into a tender and flavorful dish.

Eager to learn about the culinary techniques and beef heart taste?

Cleaning and Trimming

First things first, cleaning and trimming. Beef heart should be cleaned well to remove any excess fat, connective tissue, and blood vessels.

You can either do this at home or ask your butcher to do it for you. This step is crucial to improve texture and ensure a pleasant eating experience.

If you’re planning to braise the beef heart, make sure to wash it thoroughly and slice it into 1/2-inch thick slices after removing any fat and arteries. This ensures even cooking and a tender outcome.

Marinating for Flavor and Tenderness

With the beef heart cleaned and trimmed, the next step is marinating. Marinating not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it with flavors, enhancing the overall taste. For best results, marinate the beef heart overnight in the refrigerator.

You can experiment with your marinade, but a traditional Peruvian marinade includes ingredients like:

  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ají panca paste or chile powder
  • minced garlic
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • cumin
  • olive oil

These ingredients contribute to a robust flavor. For improved results, you can soak the beef heart in cold, salted water for about an hour before marinating. Remember to cut the heart into equal-sized chunks for even marinating and cooking.

Cooking Methods

With your beef heart now marinated and prepped, it’s time to hit the stove. Depending on your preference, you can grill, braise, or pan-fry the beef heart.

If you’re grilling it, cook over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side for a medium-rare doneness. It’s important to keep the cooking grates clean and brush the heart with melted butter or tallow during grilling to prevent sticking and keep the meat moist.

On the other hand, if you’re braising, you can simmer it with aromatic vegetables and seasonings in a mixture that typically includes beef broth and red wine, for around 1 hour. Remember, attention to the cooking time is essential to avoid overcooking, which could result in a rubbery texture.

Alternative Options

If you’re still hesitant to try beef heart, there are alternative ways to include it in your meals. You can add it to a stew or buy pre-ground beef mince with added heart.

This way, you can still reap the nutritional benefits of beef heart without having to deal with its unique taste.

Another option is taking an organ meat supplement. There are plenty of high-quality options on the market that provide the same nutrients found in beef heart.

However, I encourage you to try cooking it at least once. Who knows, you might discover a newfound love for this nutrient-packed organ meat!

Health Benefits of Consuming Beef Heart

A person exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

With all of its nutritional richness, what are the numerous health benefits consuming beef heart offers?

They include boosting energy levels, supporting immune function, and promoting heart health.

Let’s explore these benefits in detail.

Boosting Energy Levels

The iron found in beef heart plays a crucial role in producing energy by delivering oxygenated blood throughout the body. This means adequate iron intake from beef heart can help prevent exhaustion, leading to improved energy levels.

The iron from meat such as heart comes in the form of heme iron, which is the most bio-available form. This means our digestive systems are easily able to extract it and utilize it which can’t be said for plant-based sources of iron.

Additionally, a single serving of beef heart provides 36% of the Recommended Daily Value for choline, which supports energy levels via enhanced liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, and muscle movement.

Supporting Immune Function

Beef heart is not just about proteins and vitamins; it also contains healthy fats, and minerals like zinc and selenium that play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Zinc, for instance, helps develop white blood cells that fight pathogens. Selenium functions as an antioxidant and influences phagocytosis and cytokine production.

This means consuming beef heart can give your immune system a much-needed boost.

Promoting Heart Health

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of beef heart is its potential to promote heart health. That’s right, eating heart is beneficial for heart health!

So, beef heart not only offers a unique culinary experience but also supports a healthy heart.

One of the key components in beef heart is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This compound can improve symptoms and reduce the risk of heart-related complications, including heart disease, by protecting cells from damage and supporting metabolism.

It also has the potential to prevent or treat adverse effects of certain cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins, thereby indirectly benefiting heart health.

Sourcing and Storing Beef Heart

A pasture with grazing cattle in a regenerative family farm

Having revealed the benefits of consuming beef heart, we’ll now discuss how to source and store it.

Choosing high-quality, organic, and/or pasture-raised raw beef heart ensures optimal nutrient content, while proper storage maintains freshness and quality.

Finding Quality Beef Heart

When it comes to sourcing beef heart, it’s important to focus on quality. Consider purchasing beef heart from regenerative family farms known for raising their livestock in environments that repair and enhance ecosystem health.

Look for 100% grass-fed or grass-fed and grass-finished meat with no grain-finishing.

Ensure that the meat is free from pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetically modified organisms.

Quality beef hearts are available at local farmers’ markets, specialty butcher shops, and online suppliers that specialize in high-quality meats. You can explore these options to find the best source for your needs.

Here are some online supplier I recommend:

Storage Guidelines

Once you’ve sourced your beef heart, it’s crucial to store it properly to maintain its freshness and quality.

Beef heart should be stored in small portions, ideally 1/4 lb. or less for raw meat, and wrapped airtight to prevent freezer burn.

Quick freezing is critical to prevent freezer burn and preserve quality. Here are some tips for freezing beef heart:

  • Set the freezer to 0°F and minimize door opening during freezing.
  • Uncooked beef heart can be safely frozen for 4-12 months.
  • Cooked beef heart can be stored frozen for up to three months.
  • Remember to label and date the packages for monitoring storage time.

When it’s time to cook, thaw the frozen beef heart cautiously in the refrigerator, under running cold water, or in the microwave, followed by immediate cooking to ensure safety and quality.

Beef Heart in Special Diets

One of the remarkable aspects of beef heart is its adaptability. It can be included in various dietary plans, including keto, paleo, and carnivore diets, all while providing essential nutrients and protein.

For those adhering to a ketogenic diet, beef heart is an appropriate choice due to being naturally low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

The paleo diet values beef heart for its high nutrient density and alignment with the emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods.

Even those on an Autoimmune Protocol diet can enjoy beef heart with adjusted marinades that omit specific spices to meet dietary restrictions.

Creative Beef Heart Recipes

An assortment of creatively prepared beef heart dishes on a dining table

Eager to try some inventive beef heart recipes in the kitchen?

This versatile organ meat can be used in a variety of recipes, offering a unique blend of flavors and textures. From traditional Peruvian skewers to Moroccan stew, the possibilities are endless!

Anticuchos, or Peruvian Beef Heart Skewers, offer a taste of South American street food. They are marinated in traditional spices and served with classic sides like potatoes and corn.

If you prefer a more exotic and aromatic dining experience, you could try the Moroccan Beef Heart Stew, blending spices such as cinnamon and cardamom with the sweetness of apricots.

For a more Western flavor, you could try Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Beef Heart, combining savory fillings like:

  • bacon
  • onion
  • mushrooms
  • spinach

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of slow-cooked meals, you could try the Slow Cooker Beef Heart recipe, easily served over rice and sauerkraut, with a bonus tip for rendering heart fat into homemade tallow.

Conclusion

Despite its status as an underdog among meats, beef heart is a nutritional powerhouse that offers a host of health benefits.

Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, it can boost your energy levels, support immune function, and promote heart health.

And, with the right cooking techniques, it can be transformed into a tender and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

So, why not give beef heart a chance? Whether you’re looking to enhance your diet, experiment with new flavors, or simply try something different, beef heart is definitely worth considering.

After all, it’s not just about what you eat, but how you cook it!

And that’s it… if you’re interested in learning more about other organ meats and offal such as beef liver, chicken liver, beef kidney, or even sweetbreads – or perhaps such things as bone broth or bone marrow and even animal fats such as lard, tallow, suet or schmaltz, then check out my other optimal nutrition articles.

Have a nutritious day!

FAQs: Beef Heart Nutrition

What’s the nutritional value of beef heart?

Beef heart is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is rich in nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

Does beef heart have collagen?

Yes, beef heart contains collagen, along with other nutrients like zinc, selenium, and phosphorus, providing various health benefits.

Is Angus beef heart healthy?

Lean Angus beef can be a part of a heart-healthy diet, as it is a source of essential nutrients and can support heart health by helping maintain normal cholesterol levels and supporting weight loss.

What is organ meats?

Organ meats are the internal organs and other parts of the animal besides muscle meat, such as blood, bones, skin, brain, heart, kidneys, and liver. They are also known as “offal” and include livers, hearts, brains, and intestines, among others.

How do I cook beef heart?

To cook beef heart, you can grill, braise, or pan-fry it after cleaning and trimming. Marinating it before cooking can enhance its flavor and tenderness.

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