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Beef Heart: Nutrients and Side Effects + 5 Ways to Eat

Beef heart is a nutrient-dense part of the cow’s body and is high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates so it can be used in various low-carb recipes. It can support heart health and immune function but there are tips about eating beef heart you must consider if you have high cholesterol levels, gout, and iron overload disease.

Beef Heart: Nutrients and Side Effects + 5 Ways to Eat
Highlights
  • Beef heart is a nutrient-rich and delicious organ meat used in various cuisines worldwide.
  • Beef heart has moderate fat content and minimal carbohydrates (almost carb-free), so it is a suitable option for low-carb diets like Carnivore.
  • Beef heart can support red blood cell production, improve the immune system, and boost heart health.
  • You can cook beef hearts in different ways, like grilling, stewing, or making steak.

Beef Heart Nutrients

Beef heart is a type of organ meat from cows, which weighs about 3 to 4 pounds on average and can be delicious if you cook it the right way.

Many traditional cultures around the world have enjoyed eating beef hearts for a long time. For example, Native American tribes considered buffalo hearts as a special and sacred food. They respected the animal and made sure to use every part, including the heart. They prepared hearts by smoking or stewing them.

With some creative cooking methods, beef hearts can taste just as good as other popular cuts of meat. The key is finding the right way to cook them based on their unique texture and bold taste.

The following table shows the nutrients in 100 grams of raw and cooked beef heart [1] [2].

NutritionRaw Beef HeartCooked Beef Heart
Calories 112 kcal 157 kcal
Protein 17.7 g 28 g
Fat 3.94 g 5 g
Carbohydrates 0.14 g 0 g
Calcium 7 mg 5 mg
Iron 4.31 mg 6.4 mg
Magnesium 21 mg 21 mg
Potassium 287 mg 219 mg

Let’s take a closer look at the most important nutrients in a beef heart because it helps us understand why this underrated cut of meat can be a valuable addition to our diets.

Learn More: The Best Carnivore Diet Ground Beef Recipes [Experts Use]

Beef Heart Calories

Most of the calories in beef heart come from the protein it provides and only about 25% of the calories are from fat.

Although it’s an organ meat, beef heart is considered a lean option. But it contains more cholesterol than other lean meats like chicken. The calorie level of the beef heart allows it to fit into low-calorie diets like the Mediterranean diet.

Learn More: The Best High-Volume Low-Calorie Foods for Weight Loss

Beef Heart Protein

A beef heart is a lean and nutritious meat as it provides a good level of protein without being too high in calories. A 100-gram beef heart provides 28 grams of highly digestible protein.

This protein is also rich in all the essential amino acids, like tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, and valine [3].

Protein makes up 75% of the total calories in beef's heart, which means you're getting most of your calories from high-quality protein rather than carbohydrates.

It makes beef heart a good option for those focused on optimizing their protein intake while keeping an eye on their calorie consumption, like fitness enthusiasts and athletes.

Learn More: Can You Eat Avocado on a Carnivore Diet? What About Avocado Oil?

Beef Heart Carbohydrates

The low levels of carbohydrates in the beef heart make it a good choice for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet like the Carnivore Diet.

The beef heart contains too few calories so it can be considered a carb-free food.

So, it offers a carbohydrate-free way to absorb high-quality protein and essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins [4].

Beef Heart Potassium

Potassium is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in heart health, muscle function, and maintaining proper fluid balance in the body.

100 grams of beef heart provides 219 milligrams of potassium, which is about 8% of the daily recommended intake for this essential nutrient [5].

What makes the beef heart's potassium content even more useful is that it comes with very little sodium. Unlike many processed and cured meats that are high in sodium, the beef heart is a natural source of potassium without excessive salt [6].

In addition to supporting heart health, the potassium in the beef heart helps regulate muscle contractions and nerve function, which makes it an important mineral for physically active individuals and athletes [7].

So, beef heart is a delicious meat with a rich nutritional profile. The question is how it can help us if we add it to our diet.

Learn More: The Bone Broth Diet: Meal Plan and How to Do

Beef Heart Benefits

  • Boosting Protein Intake: Adding the beef heart to your diet is a good way to increase protein consumption, which is crucial for building and repairing muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues [8].
  • Supporting Red Blood Cell Production: The beef heart is rich in iron, which is essential for producing hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body [9].
  • Enhancing Immune Function: The high levels of zinc in beef heart help immune system health and wound healing [10].
  • Promoting Energy Metabolism: The beef heart is loaded with B vitamins like B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, which are necessary for converting food into energy and supporting a healthy metabolism [11].
  • Supporting Heart Health: The CoQ10 found in beef heart is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the heart and cardiovascular system. It also contains potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure levels [12].

Despite all these benefits, consuming beef heart can cause some side effects in individuals with certain health conditions.

Learn More: White Meat vs. Dark Meat: Which One Is Better for You?

Beef Heart Side Effects

  • Cholesterol Levels: The beef heart is higher in cholesterol than other meats. Every 100 grams of beef heart contains around 212 mg of cholesterol. The cholesterol content in a beef heart can be a concern for individuals with high cholesterol levels or at risk of heart disease. It's recommended to eat beef heart and other organ meats in moderation [14] [15].
  • Gout Concerns: Beef hearts contain moderate amounts of purines. For people with gout, consuming too many purine-rich foods like organ meats can worsen joint pain and contribute to further damage [16].
  • Iron Overload Disease: Beef heart is also rich in iron. While iron is an essential nutrient, individuals diagnosed with hemochromatosis or iron overload disease absorb too much iron. They should minimize the consumption of iron-rich foods like beef heart to prevent this problem [17].

So, if you want to add this nutritious organ meat to your diet and meal plan, you can use the following easy recipes to make delicious dishes with beef heart.

Learn More: The Carnivore Diet and Gout: The Best and Worst Meats to Eat

How to Eat Beef Heart? 4 Best Recipes

Here are 4 easy and affordable recipes to help you include beef hearts in your meals. You can also find many low-carb recipes by checking these Carnivore Diet recipes.

  1. Slow Cooker Beef Heart
  2. Grilled Beef Heart
  3. Beef Heart Meatballs
  4. Beef Heart Stew

Let’s get the ingredients and start cooking!

Slow Cooker Beef Heart

Here are the ingredients and instructions to make slow cooker beef heart:

Ingredients

  • 1 beef heart
  • 1/2 cup beef bone broth
  • 1/4 cup beef tallow or other animal fat
  • 1/4 tbsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Trim the fat from the beef heart and cut it into 1-inch cubes. You can remove the veins if you want.
  2. Put the beef heart cubes into the slow cooker. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.
  3. Pour the beef tallow/animal fat and bone broth over the seasoned heart.
  4. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  5. Enjoy!

Grilled Beef Heart

You can make this grilled beef heart dish, which yields 6 servings using the ingredients and instructions below.

Ingredients

  • 1 beef heart, about 1kg
  • 2-3 tbsp cooking fat, ghee, or lard
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse the heart under cold water and pat it dry.
  2. Cut open the heart and remove any strings, arteries, or blood vessels left inside. Trim off any excess fat.
  3. Place the heart in Worcestershire sauce and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.
  4. Pat the heart dry again and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the heart in half so it fits in your skillet.
  6. Melt the cooking fat or oil in a skillet over high heat.
  7. Grill the heart for 5-6 minutes per side until a brown crust forms. Don't move it while cooking each side.
  8. Remove the heart from the skillet and let it rest for 15 minutes, covered with foil.
  9. Slice the heart thinly against the grain.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Beef Heart Meatballs

Here is a quick and easy-to-make beef heart recipe with a delicious taste.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. ground beef
  • 8 oz. ground beef heart
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix well the ground beef and ground beef heart.
  3. Season the meat mixture with salt.
  4. Scoop out 2 oz portions and roll into ball shapes with your hands.
  5. Place the meatballs in a small baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Once baked, juices will release from the meatballs into the dish.
  7. Serve warm and enjoy.

Beef Heart Stew

You can make 2 servings of this yummy stew using the following ingredients and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef heart
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 4 cups beef bone broth
  • 1/2 cup beef tallow or other animal fat
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the beef tallow over high heat, in a large pot.
  2. Add the cubed beef heart and stew meat in a single layer. Sear for about 2-3 minutes per side until browned on all sides.
  3. Remove the meat and set aside. Drain excess fat from the pot, leaving about 2 tbsp.
  4. Add the beef bone broth, salt, and pepper.
  5. Return the seared beef heart and stew meat to the pot and let them boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low once boiling and let it remain for 2-3 hours until meat is very tender.
  7. Serve hot.

If you don’t like the taste of the beef heart, you can consume beef liver as an alternative to the beef heart because they have almost the same nutrition profile.

But there are some differences you should know before deciding which one is more suitable for you.

Learn More: Is Steak Good for Weight Loss? The Best and Worst Cuts of Meat

Beef Heart vs. Beef Liver

Beef heart and beef liver are two nutritious organ meats, but they have many differences. You can see a comparison between these two meats in the following table.

FeaturesBeef HeartBeef Liver
Key Nutrients Higher than the liver in iron and phosphorous Higher than the heart in protein, vitamin A, and selenium. Rich source of B vitamins like riboflavin and vitamin B12
Flavor Mild and close to lean steak Strong and distinct
Texture Tender Chewy
Cooking Methods Can be braised, pan-fried, or grilled Can be sautéed or pan-fried

Also, 100 grams of raw and cooked beef liver can provide the following nutrients. [18] [19].

NutritionRaw Beef LiverCooked Beef Liver
Calories 135 kcal 191 kcal
Protein 20.4 g 29.1 g
Fat 3.63 g 5.3 g
Carbohydrates 3.89 g 5.1 g
Calcium 5 mg 6 mg
Iron 4.9 mg 6.5 mg
Magnesium 18 mg 21 mg
Potassium 313 mg 352 mg

Learn More: The Best Meat for Beef Jerky and How to Select Them

Summary

Beef heart can be a good option to add to low-carb diets like Keto and Carnivore Diets due to its rich nutrition profile, moderate levels of fat, and very low (almost zero) levels of carbohydrates.

Also, it doesn’t have too many calories and is a rich source of protein, which supports your immune system and bone health.

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