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Is Beef Heart Healthy?

author image Maura Shenker
Maura Shenker is a certified holistic nutritionist and health counselor who started her writing career in 2010. She leads group workshops, counsels individual clients and blogs about diet and lifestyle choices. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Is Beef Heart Healthy?
Roasted beef heart. Photo Credit Юра Белошкурский/iStock/Getty Images

Beef heart is a muscle like other cuts of steak, but it is more dense with a higher nutrient content and additional protein. Beef heart contains all essential amino acids, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. It has more than double the elastin and collagen than other cuts of meat and a highly concentrated source of coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10. MayoClinic.com suggests choosing grass-fed beef rather than grain-fed beef because it may have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Traditional Diets

Organ meats, such as the liver, brain, kidneys and heart, were often part of traditional diets. Scottish haggis is made of ground organ meats mixed with grains, then stuffed into the stomach lining and cooked. Pates, liverwurst, sausages and sweet breads -- made from the thymus gland -- have been part of different food cultures from around the world.

The X Factor

Weston A. Price, author of "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration," hypothesized that a fat-soluble vitamin acting as a catalyst for the absorption of vitamins is present in organ meats. More powerful than vitamins A or D, Price called this vitamin "Activator X." In his study of indigenous food cultures, he found that every group had some food it considered sacred. He noted that all hunter-gatherer tribes ate the organ meat of any game killed first, and often raw.

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Coenzyme Q10

Beef heart is a rich source of coenzyme Q10, known as CoQ10. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, CoQ10 boosts your energy level, is vital for your immune system and works as an antioxidant -- fighting free radicals that damage DNA.

CoQ10 may also prevent blood clot formation, lower blood pressure, reduce fluid in the lungs and swelling in the legs, making it an important aid in preventing heart disease and heart failure.

Collagen and Elastin

Collagen is a type of protein found in the dermis -- or middle layer -- of your skin. An ample amount of collagen will keep your skin youthful and supple, warding off fine lines and wrinkles. There is more collagen in your skin than any other type of protein.

Elastin is another type of protein in your dermis, responsible for giving structure to your skin. Too little elastin causes wrinkles and sagging. Beef heart is an excellent source of both collagen and elastin.

Nutritional Overview

Beef heart can be a healthy part of your diet. A 4-oz. serving contains only 130 calories, with 80 of these calories coming its 20 g of protein and 35 calories from its 5 g of fat. Beef heart also contains several B vitamins, lycopene, iron, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc.

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