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7 Nutrient-Packed Animal Organs

You eat the cow's butt—might as well try its brains, ya meat chauvinist.

You've all heard of “superfoods,” and while nuts, yogurt and acai are certainly healthy, like the overachievers in high school, you’re probably tired of hearing about them. There must be power-packed foods we can eat when we want something meaty that doesn’t look like it belongs on a spa menu, right?

You're going to eat my what?

If you’re looking for animal-based wonder foods, look no further than the organs. In nature, most animals go straight for the liver and kidneys after a kill, plunging into the muscle and meats after. While the idea of eating guts might seem vile, it's ultimately no different than eating an animal's outer muscles. The organs offer some of the densest sources of nutrients like B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, copper and magnesium, and are rich with the most important fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. Consider yourself on the cutting edge of healthy nutrition (not Hannibal Lector) for digging into foods like heart, brains and tongue. Prepared right, they'll make you feel more like a guest at a four-star restaurant than a contestant on Fear Factor.

Heart

NUTRIENTS
Per 4-oz. serving of beef heart (approximately one 4-inch by 4-inch slice)
Calories: 127
Fat: 4g
Protein: 20g
Since it’s a muscle, heart shares many similarities with steak, roasts and ground beef, is less expensive (probably because people won't eat it), and has a higher amount of protein, thiamine, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and several B vitamins. It’s a great way to rack up amino acids that can improve metabolism and compounds that aid the production of collagen and elastin, which fight wrinkles and aging. This mixture of unique nutrients helps build muscle, store energy and boost stamina and endurance.

SOURCES
Beef, lamb and chicken.

PREPARATION
Beef heart should be a deep reddish brown, with a layer of fat near its top. Like most organs, heart is delicate and should be cooked slowly and served medium rare. Cut away the fat, connective tissue, valves and tendons, cut it into slices, salt it and soak it in an acid-based marinade for at least an hour to tenderize it and release those delicious flavors. Grill the slices and serve with a vinaigrette. Prepare chicken hearts the same way (except you don't have to butcher them). You might notice extra energy immediately after you eat.
 

NEXT: LIVER

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