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- Nutrivore Score for Beef Heart – 888
- Beef Heart Nutrition Facts
- Beef Heart Nutrition Varies With Cooking
- Heart Nutrition Varies With Type
- Beef Heart Provides 356% DV Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
- Beef Heart Provides 11.3 mg of CoQ10
- Beef Heart Provides 70% DV Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Beef Heart Provides 47% DV Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Beef Heart Provides 44% DV Copper
- Beef Heart Provides 40% DV Selenium
- Beef Heart Provides 36% DV Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Beef Heart Provides 17.7 g of Protein
- Beef Heart Provides 28% DV Choline
- Beef Heart Provides 24% DV Iron
- Beef Heart Provides 24% DV Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Beef Heart Provides 20% DV Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- How Much Beef Heart Should We Eat Per Day?
If you’re looking for a gateway organ meat, why not try heart? Technically a muscle, which means it has a familiar taste, texture and flavor, heart is in fact considered offal and worthy of superfood status, making it the perfect starting place!
Offal is another term for organ meats (also known as variety meats because there is a variety of different kinds!). The word itself derives from ‘off’ and ‘fall’, literally referring to the parts of the animal that fall off during butchering. Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses. In fact, offal is one of the most concentrated sources of just about every nutrient out there, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential amino acids. (Let’s just say it’s “offally” good for you!). Although organ meat may not be familiar to many of us today, organ meats have been part of the human diet since prehistory. Traditional cultures revered organ meats – they were treated like gold and reserved for the highest echelons of society (exactly who depended on the culture, sometimes it was saved for hunters, other times for pregnant women, sometimes the head of the family or tribe and other times for elders). Hunters and gatherers discard muscle meat in times of plenty and even animals value these meats above all else – in nature predators will often eat the liver of their prey first after a kill. Not only is snout-to-tail consumption good for our health, it’s important for environmental sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals. It means consuming every part of the animal and translates to eating a ratio of organ meat to muscle that’s similar to the animal’s own ratio (roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of the meat we eat with no upper limit). These foods include not just liver, but also blood, bone broth, brain, giblets, kidney, lips, tail, tongue, tripe, and heart to name a few.
The heart is our body’s hardest-working muscle, responsible for pumping blood around the body. As a food, it is popular in many countries around the world, prepared in various traditional ways though it is now gaining popularity in haute cuisine too. It works well braised, fried, grilled, roasted, stewed, stuffed, or included in sausage. If you’re looking to begin cooking with organ meats at home, heart is a good place to start given its wide-spread availability. It is especially good if you’re new to offal, since it is similar to familiar muscle meat in texture and taste and for the most part can be indistinguishably substituted for muscle meat in most recipes, giving your dish a nutrient boost.
No matter what animal it comes from – beef, chicken, lamb, or pork – heart is nutrient dense, though the micronutrient content will vary depending on the animal and source (grass-fed versus conventional), though in general heart tends to be a concentrated source of coenzyme Q10 and is rich in copper. When it comes to taste, heart has a rich, steak-like flavor that tends to resemble the animal it comes from, so beef heart tastes like beef, lamb heart tastes like lamb etc (you get the idea). Smaller animals have milder-tasting organs so chicken may be easier to start with. In general, heart is lean but can be a bit tough. Depending on the animal it comes from it can be prepared whole, halved, or cut into slices. Despite all its’ health benefits, if you’re still having trouble wrapping your head around the idea of including heart in your diet, take it one step at a time: try hiding it from yourself, and experiment with different recipes and with organs from different animals. Before you know it, you’ll be thinking “I heart organ meat.” (Hyuck!)
Nutrivore Score for Beef Heart – 888
Beef heart has a Nutrivore Score of 888, making it a super nutrient-dense food! Plus, it is a low-carb food; beef heart has only 0.1 grams of net carbs per 100-gram serving!
Per serving, beef heart is a best source (>50% daily value) of coQ10, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin); an excellent source (20-50% daily value) of choline, copper, iron, protein, selenium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin B7 (biotin); and a good source (10-20% daily value) of phosphorus, taurine, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and zinc.
Beef Heart Nutrition Facts
One serving of beef heart is standardized to 100 grams (3.5 ounces). When you cook beef heart, it reduces in volume by approximately 30%: 100 grams raw beef heart is equivalent to 68 grams cooked beef heart.
|Beef heart, raw||Nutrivore Score: 888||Nutrient Density: Super|
|Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams)||Protein: 17.7 grams||Net Carbohydrates: 0.1 grams|
|Calories: 112||Total Fat: 3.9 grams||Dietary Fiber: 0.0 grams|
|Vitamin A||0.0 μg RAE||0% DV|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||238.0 μg||20% DV|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||906.0 μg||70% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||7.5 mg||47% DV|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||1.8 mg||36% DV|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||279.0 μg||16% DV|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||7.3 μg||24% DV|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||20.0 μg||5% DV|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||8.6 μg||356% DV|
|Vitamin C||2.0 mg||2% DV|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0.2 μg||1% DV|
|Vitamin E||0.2 mg||2% DV|
|Vitamin K||0.0 μg||0% DV|
|Choline||155.3 mg||28% DV|
|Calcium||7.0 mg||1% DV|
|Copper||396.0 μg||44% DV|
|Iron||4.3 mg||24% DV|
|Magnesium||21.0 mg||5% DV|
|Manganese||35.0 μg||2% DV|
|Phosphorus||212.0 mg||17% DV|
|Potassium||287.0 mg||6% DV|
|Selenium||21.8 μg||40% DV|
|Sodium||98.0 mg||4% DV|
|Zinc||1.7 mg||15% DV|
|AMINO ACIDS & PEPTIDES|
Beef Heart Nutrition Varies With Cooking
The Nutrivore Score of beef heart varies depending on the method of preparation.
|Beef heart, cooked, simmered||784|
|Beef heart, raw||888|
Heart Nutrition Varies With Type
The Nutrivore Score of heart varies greatly depending on type (as does the texture and taste)! Nutrient density is also impacted by the source (country of origin, conventional versus grass-fed etc). For instance, meat from New Zealand is grass-fed which means it typically has higher levels of nutrients, resulting in an overall higher Nutrivore Score.
|Beef heart, New Zealand, imported, raw||974|
|Beef heart, raw||888|
|Chicken heart, raw||6891|
|Lamb heart, New Zealand, imported, raw||903|
|Lamb heart, raw||9161|
|Turkey heart, raw||1016|
|Pork heart, raw||977|
|Veal heart, raw||11431|
Health Benefits of Beef Heart Nutrients
Let’s take a closer look at all of the best and excellent source of nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce serving of beef heart and see how they benefit our health.
Beef Heart Provides 356% DV Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Beef heart is an outstanding source of vitamin B12 (cobalamin), providing a whopping 356% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a cofactor for enzymes involved in energy metabolism, red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, neurotransmitter production, nervous system health, and folate metabolism. As a result of these roles, vitamin B12 is vital for maintaining brain and nervous system health, and may have a protective effect against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. There’s also some evidence vitamin B12 may be cancer-protective, possibly through supporting folate metabolism (which then assists in repairing DNA damage). Learn more about vitamin B12 here.
Beef Heart Provides 11.3 mg of CoQ10
Ubiquinone is the oxidized form and ubiquinol is the reduced, more bioavailable form of the vitaminlike compound coenzyme Q10 (coQ10). CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and a cofactor in the electron transport chain for the production of ATP. It may be helpful in treating or preventing heart and blood vessel conditions, diabetes, gum disease, muscular dystrophy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and breast cancer. Sources include beef, pork, mackerel, yellowtail fish, and chicken; it’s also found in smaller amounts in vegetables like broccoli and herbs like parsley.
Beef Heart Provides 70% DV Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Beef heart is also a best source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), providing 70% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Riboflavin (or vitamin B2) is a vitamin that helps form two important coenzymes involved in oxidation-reduction reactions: flavin mononucleotide (FMN), and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Collectively, these coenzymes are involved in antibody production, energy production, growth and development, skin and hair health, and the metabolism of several other nutrients (vitamin B6, niacin, folate, and iron). Research suggests a role for riboflavin in preventing or treating migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and preeclampsia during pregnancy. It also possesses some anti-cancer properties due to its involvement in folate metabolism and MTHFR activity. Learn more about vitamin B2 here.
Beef Heart Provides 47% DV Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Beef heart is an excellent source of vitamin B3 (niacin), providing 47% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Niacin is a water-soluble B complex vitamin (vitamin B3) that’s needed to produce two very important coenzymes: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). NAD and NADP are needed for over 400 enzymes involved in DNA repair, fatty acid synthesis, antioxidant systems, detoxification, and hormone synthesis, as well as the breakdown of fat, carbohydrate, protein, and alcohol. Niacin has therapeutic potential for cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia, and may also be protective against cancer and type 1 diabetes. Some research suggests it could benefit health outcomes for patients with HIV or schizophrenia as well. Learn more about niacin here.
Beef Heart Provides 44% DV Copper
Beef heart is also an excellent source of copper, providing 44% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Copper is a trace mineral that’s essential for all living organisms. Copper serves as a component of numerous enzymes and proteins in the body, giving it diverse roles in the growth, development, and maintenance of various organs (including the heart and brain), bone, and connective tissue. Copper is also involved in glucose and cholesterol metabolism, helps regulate gene expression, can scavenge free radicals, and is needed for the production of red blood cells. Learn more about copper here.
Beef Heart Provides 40% DV Selenium
Beef heart is an excellent source of selenium, providing 40% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Selenium is a trace mineral needed by all mammals to sustain life. It serves as a component of the non-proteinogenic amino acids selenocysteine and selenomethionine, and also helps form over two dozen selenoproteins involved in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense, DNA synthesis, and immunity. Observational research suggests selenium could play a protective role against cancer, heart disease, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease, although human trials have generally been lacking or contradictory. There’s also evidence that selenium can play a preventative role in asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, while also reducing mortality in patients with sepsis. Learn more about selenium here.
Beef Heart Provides 36% DV Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Beef heart is also an excellent source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), providing 36% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Pantothenic acid (or vitamin B5) is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a cofactor for coenzyme A—which itself is critical for metabolizing many drugs and toxins, as well as forming derivatives (acetyl-CoA and succinyl-CoA) that participate in the synthesis of cholesterol, fatty acids, melatonin, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, steroid hormones, heme, and vitamins A and D. Coenzyme A is also needed in the Krebs cycle, giving pantothenic acid a role in energy metabolism. Research suggests that a pantothenic acid derivative (pantethine) can help improve blood lipid profiles and reduce fatty streak formation and lipid deposition in the arteries, giving it a cardio-protective role. Additional research shows that panthothenic acid can accelerate wound healing, boost cellular production of the important antioxidant glutathione, and possibly help improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more about vitamin B5 here.
Beef Heart Provides 17.7 g of Protein
Beef heart is a great source of protein, providing 17.7 g of protein per 3.5-ounce serving!
Proteins are the molecules that actually perform most of the various functions of life. In addition to being major structural components of cells and tissues, they have incredibly diverse roles from driving chemical reactions (e.g., enzymes) to signaling (e.g., some types of hormones) to transporting and storing nutrients. Dietary protein is necessary to supply the amino acid building blocks for all of the proteins in our bodies. The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). That amounts to 56 grams for a 150-pound person. However, it’s important to emphasize that this number is considered a minimum daily allotment, and there is no established upper limit. In fact, many studies have evaluated diets containing three to four times more protein than this minimum and proven benefits to weight management, body composition, hormone regulation, and cardiovascular health. These studies suggest that an optimal protein intake for most people is probably in the range of 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight (82 to 122 grams for that same 150-pound person), and that people who are very active may see the best results at even higher intake. Learn more about protein and amino acids here.
Beef Heart Provides 28% DV Choline
Beef heart is an excellent source of choline, providing 28% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Choline is often grouped together with B-complex vitamins, and sometimes referred to as vitamin B4. It plays an essential role in building cell membranes. Choline also serves as the backbone for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is involved in heart health, gut motility (the movement of contents through the digestive tract controlled by the coordinated contraction and relaxation of specialized gut muscle tissue), and muscle movement. Adequate intake during pregnancy can help reduce risk of neural tube defects.
Beef Heart Provides 24% DV Iron
Beef heart is rich in iron, providing 24% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Iron is a mineral required for the metabolism of all living organisms. It’s needed for the function of numerous iron-dependent proteins involved in electron transport, energy metabolism, oxygen transport and storage, DNA replication and repair, free radical scavenging, and oxidative processes. It plays an important role in reproductive health, gestation, immunity, and central nervous system development. Learn more about iron here.
Beef Heart Provides 24% DV Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Beef heart is an excellent source of vitamin B7 (biotin), providing 24% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, also known as vitamin B7. Like other B vitamins, it plays an important role in energy metabolism (serving as a coenzyme for five carboxylase enzymes), neurotransmitter production, cellular function, and the function of various organs. Getting enough biotin can help support healthy nail and hair growth. It’s also particularly important during pregnancy, with low intakes increasing the risk of premature delivery and birth defects. There’s even some evidence biotin can benefit diabetics and reduce functional disabilities in people with multiple sclerosis. Learn more about biotin here.
Beef Heart Provides 20% DV Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Beef heart is also an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamin), providing 20% of the daily value per 3.5-ounce serving!
Thiamin (sometimes spelled thiamine, and also called vitamin B1) is a water-soluble vitamin. In its active form of thiamin pyrophosphate, it serves as a cofactor for a variety of enzymes involved in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, RNA and DNA production, and generating energy for the Krebs cycle. Research suggests vitamin B1 could help prevent blood sugar and insulin increases in people with disordered glucose metabolism, reduce the risk of cataracts, and improve health and mortality outcomes in patients with sepsis. Because aggressive tumors have high thiamin demands, it’s uncertain whether supplementing with thiamin while having cancer is beneficial due to preventing deficiency, or harmful due to providing more fuel for tumor growth. Insufficient thiamin may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and when chronic, leads to a deficiency disease called beriberi. Learn more about vitamin B1 here.
How Much Beef Heart Should We Eat Per Day?
Offal, including organ meat such as beef heart, is a great source of protein, which is just part of the reason it is considered one of the most nutritionally valuable foods on the planet. In fact, offal is one of the most concentrated sources of just about every nutrient out there, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, amino acids, and protein.
Proteins are the molecules that perform most of the various functions of life which is why protein deficiency is detrimental to all of the body’s organs and systems, including impacting function of the brain (especially in infants and young children), immune system, gut barrier, and kidneys. Dietary protein is necessary to supply the amino acid building blocks for all of the proteins in our bodies. Physical signs of protein deficiency include edema (swelling), poor musculature, dull skin, thin and fragile hair, and failure to thrive in infants and children.
The Accepted Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) were established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine using evidence from interventional trials with support of epidemiological evidence that suggest a role in the prevention or increased risk of chronic diseases, and based on ensuring sufficient intake of essential nutrients. The AMDR for protein is 10% to 35% calories from protein.
The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). That amounts to 56 grams for a 150-pound person. However, it’s important to emphasize that this number is considered a minimum daily allotment, and there is no established upper limit. In fact, many studies have evaluated diets containing three to four times more protein than this minimum and proven benefits to weight management, body composition, hormone regulation, and cardiovascular health. These studies suggest that an optimal protein intake for most people is probably in the range of 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight (82 to 122 grams for that same 150-pound person), and that people who are very active may see the best results at even higher intake. Learn more about protein here.
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Fineli Finnish Food Composition Database: Heart, Beef
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USDA Food Central Database: Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw
USDA Food Central Database: Beef, variety meats and by-products, heart, cooked, simmered
USDA Food Central Database: Beef, variety meats and by-products, heart, raw
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