Searing up sliced beef kidney with sautéed onions and simmering a whole kidney in beef stock are both surefire ways to up your protein intake.
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You'll also get several vitamins and minerals from your kidney dish. While beef kidney is a rich protein and nutrient source, it does contain food components that aren't particularly healthy for you. So it's important to get a look at the whole nutritional picture.
- Calories (per 4-ounce serving, raw): 112
- Fat: 3.5 grams
- Protein: 18 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Cholesterol: 411 milligrams
Calories and Macronutrients
Having a thick 3-ounce slice of cooked beef kidney adds approximately 135 calories to your diet. The majority of cuts of beef, including kidney meat, do not contain a large amount of carbohydrates.
About 70 percent of the overall calories (approximately 95 calories), come from protein. The rest of the calories, which is about 30 percent of calories, or 40 total calories, come from fat.
Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
While beef kidney isn't overly high in saturated fat, it does have some. But no more than 10 percent of your caloric intake should come from saturated fat, since it can be incredibly damaging to your heart, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
All fats have 9 calories per gram, so this amounts to a maximum of 22 grams of saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet. You'll get 1.2 grams of saturated fat from 3 ounces of cooked beef kidney, or 5 percent of your allowance for the day.
The bigger concern is the high cholesterol content in beef kidney. Cholesterol from foods can contribute to hardened and clogged arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease. You shouldn't have more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol in a day, according to the University of California, San Francisco Health, and a single 3-ounce serving of beef kidney has more than that amount.
Beef kidney meat is packed with several B vitamins. You'll get nine times your daily requirement of B-12 — a vitamin essential for making new red blood cells — from a 3-ounce slice. That same portion size has more than double your recommendation of riboflavin, as well as around 20 percent of your daily niacin needs.
These B vitamins work side by side to pump up your metabolism. A 3-ounce slice of prepared beef kidney also offers nearly 18 percent of your folate requirement. Folate is vital for creating new cells throughout your body, which is particularly important during pregnancy.
Beef in general is a rich source of iron. You need iron to help make oxygen available to every cell in your system.
A 3-ounce portion of cooked beef kidney gives you between 30 and 60 percent of your day's iron needs. That serving of kidney even has 37 percent of your phosphorus requirement, promoting strong bones and supporting nutrient transportation to vital organs.
For an optimally strong immune system, your 3-ounce portion of beef kidney provides more than 20 percent of your zinc needs.