The lining of beef stomach, tripe has a chewy texture that can take some getting used to, but it has a mild flavor that works well in soups and stews. Tripe serves as a source of minerals as well as protein and vitamins your body relies on for good health. But tripe and other organ meats should be consumed infrequently -- and in small portions -- due to their cholesterol content, notes the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.
Basic Nutrition Information
Tripe fits well into a calorie-controlled diet -- at 80 calories for a 3-ounce portion of simmered tripe, it provides just 4 percent of the calorie intake in a 2,000-calorie diet. Each serving of cooked tripe provides 10 grams of protein, a source of amino acids your body needs to make hormones, enzymes and new tissue. Tripe also offers 3.4 grams of total fat per serving, with 1.2 grams consisting of saturated fatty acids. Consuming fat as part of a balanced diet supports your active lifestyle because it serves as a source of energy, but saturated fats boost harmful cholesterol -- the type of cholesterol that puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Including tripe in your diet helps you consume more selenium. Your cells rely on selenium to control enzyme activity, and a diet rich in selenium fights cell damage associated with aging and disease while also supporting thyroid gland function. Tripe also offers beneficial zinc, a mineral important for blood clot formation and immune function. Like selenium, zinc promotes thyroid function. A 3-ounce serving of cooked tripe contains 1.45 milligrams of zinc -- 13 percent and 18 percent of the daily zinc intakes set for men and women, respectively -- and 10 micrograms of selenium, or 18 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Tripe serves as a significant source of vitamin B-12, or cobalamin. Vitamin B-12, together with other B vitamins, helps your body process homocysteine, a potentially toxic amino acid. An accumulation of homocysteine in your bloodstream serves as a risk factor for heart disease, so vitamin B-12's ability to lower homocysteine levels might offer cardiovascular benefits. A diet rich in vitamin B-12 also fights pernicious anemia -- a condition that causes weight loss, fatigue, memory loss and mood swings. A 3-ounce serving of cooked tripe offers 0.61 microgram of vitamin B-12, or 25 percent of your recommended daily B-12 intake.
Limit your tripe intake to avoid consuming too much cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of cooked tripe provides 133 milligrams of cholesterol -- just shy of half the daily limit of 300 milligrams set for the general public, or 67 percent of the daily limit for those suffering from heart disease or high cholesterol. While small amounts of cholesterol support your health -- it helps you make vitamin D, as well as sex hormones -- your body can make cholesterol on its own and doesn't need cholesterol from your diet. A diet rich in cholesterol has the potential to cause elevated blood cholesterol levels, which increase cardiovascular disease risk.
- University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center: Heart Healthy Eating
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beef, Variety Meats and By-Products, Tripe, Cooked, Simmered
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Selenium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Zinc
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)
- Colorado State University: Dietary Fat and Cholesterol